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Release: Oct. 18, 2002

(NOTE TO EDITORS: Writer/director Ralph Hall can be reached at < ralph-hall@uiowa.edu >.)

IN FOLK-TALE TRADITION, NEW ‘SINDERELLA’ IS BOTH FUNNY AND GROTESQUE

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The University Theatres Second Stage series will present “Sinderella,” a grimmer-than-Grimm adult version of the classic folk tale, written and directed by University of Iowa Department of Theatre Arts faculty member Ralph Hall. Performances will be at 8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, Oct. 30 through Nov. 2, and at 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 3, in Theatre B of the UI Theatre Building.

“‘Sinderella’ is not your typical children’s fairy tale: It is not approved by Disney,” explains Hall, who is the department’s movement specialist. “‘Sinderella’ is a grotesque comedy that falls somewhere between tragedy and clowning. Following in the tradition of early folk tales, characters are pushed towards dark caricature and bizarre extremes. It is a familiar story that takes a twisted turn into haunted places where people end up getting what they deserve.”

Hall emphasizes that, although his bawdy new version diverges from the romantic story-line that is familiar through sanitized versions intended for children -- this time, for example, the fellow in the castle is not the prince of her dreams -- his “Sinderella” is actually truer to the tone and content of the ancient folk tales.

“Early folk tales and the grotesque share a natural affinity. In the Brothers Grimm version, the stepsisters cut off their feet and their eyes get poked out. Grotesque theater uses distorted images & exaggeration to turn our skin inside out to expose a raw viewpoint of human experience. It believes in nothing and makes fun of everything.”

While Hall does not want to give away the surprising violent and erotic twists that he and his cast have developed in pushing the tale back toward its dark roots, he will disclose that the costumes and sets by Renee Bell use grotesque distortions to push the story and characters over the top.

The production also features lighting design by Luke Olson and sound design by Tony Rogers geared to reinforce the sense of the macabre.

Admission to “Sinderella” will be $7 ($4 for UI students) at the door. Tickets will go on sale one hour before show time.

The Department of Theatre Arts is a unit of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

For UI arts information, visit www.uiowa.edu/artsiowa on the World Wide Web. To receive UI arts news by e-mail, contact deborah-thumma@uiowa.edu.