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University of Iowa News Release


Oct. 29, 2010

University Theatres premieres Martha Clarke's 'In the Night' at the UI

The 2010-11 Mainstage series of the University of Iowa Theatres will present the world premiere of "In the Night," conceived and directed by legendary dance/theater artist Martha Clarke, one of the founding members of Pilobolus Dance Theatre, at 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 11, in the David Thayer Theatre of the UI Theatre Building.

Additional performances of this new Partnership in the Arts production will be at 8 p.m. Nov. 12, 13 and 17-20, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 14.

Clarke (photo, left) collaborated with theater and dance students, faculty and staff, as well as with UI and community scientists, to develop a vivid and evocative work about dreams and the brain. Her guest team includes lighting designer Christopher Akerlind and music director Arthur Solari, and her cast includes George de la Pena, chair of the Department of Dance, and dance faculty member Alan Sener.

The images of the piece were developed through several weeks of improvisation and refinement, drawing inspiration from paintings by Goya, Ernst and Fuseli; films by Fellini and Herzog; texts by Dostoevsky and Lewis Carroll; and many other sources, both public and private.

Dramaturg Brett Janecek wrote, "Some of the moments were preconceived and we experimented with the idea in rehearsal. Others were found by accident -- perhaps someone unknowingly sat in an interesting manner or had a particular look on their face.

"Each moment in this process has been a surprise. While that sounds incredibly frightening and stressful (at times it is), it's a liberating way to create art."

Clarke is noted for strikingly visual creations in theater, dance and opera. Many of her works -- notably "The Garden of Earthly Delights," which was revived Off-Broadway in 2008-09 through a National Endowment for the Arts initiative to remount American masterworks -- have been influenced by paintings. And she is often described as "visionary."

As a choreographer, in addition to her contributions to Pilobolus, she has created works for Nederlans Dance Theater, the Joffrey Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Rambert Dance Company and The Martha Graham Company,

She has been honored with a MacArthur "genius grant"; received 15 grants from the National Endowment for the Arts; captured Drama Desk, Obie, Tony Randall and L.A. Critics awards; and this year received the Scripps/American Dance Festival Award for Lifetime Achievement, the most important lifetime award for choreographers.

With George de la Pena and Alan Sener, her cast includes performers of international stature. De la Pena (photo, left) began his career with American Ballet Theatre and has worked with renowned choreographers including George Balanchine, Mikhail Baryshnikov and Twyla Tharp. He played the title role in the film "Nijinsky" and has performed many other roles in films, on television and on Broadway.

Sener (photo, right) toured the world as a member of the company of "Fame" choreographer Louis Falco, and he was entrusted with the artistic direction of the Falco repertory, which he has set on dance companies throughout the world.

Percussionist and composer Arthur Solari, who teaches at Hofstra and Princeton, was also Clarke's musical director for "The Garden of Earthly Delights." He has appeared throughout the world and in recordings as a member of the New Jersey Percussion Ensemble, the New Jersey New Music Ensemble, the Left Hand Path Ensemble, the electro-acoustic group Amalgam and as a solo artist.

Lighting designer Christopher Akerlind (photo, right) has worked on many productions on Broadway and Off-Broadway, winning Tony, Drama Desk and Obie awards. His lighting for "The Garden of Earthly Delights" won the Lucille Lortel Award.

Other artistic contributors to "In the Night" include costume designer Brittany Lee Bodley, scenic designer Jennifer Lynn Tillapaugh, assistant directors Kristin Clippard and Nathan Halverson, and fight consultant Paul Kalina.

Among Clarke's scientific collaborators at the UI and in the community are psychologist Susan Lutgendorf, neurologist Daniel Tranel, computer scientist Karl Boyken, neurologist Eric Dyken, psychologist Candida Maurer and psychology student Holly Behnami.

Two years ago the Division of Performing Arts established "Creating the Future," to connect the arts and sciences. "In the Night" is the second production in that project, following the Hancher/Theatres collaboration on Rinde Eckert's "Eye Piece" last season.

Partnership in the Arts brings prominent artists to the UI to create ambitious new works in collaboration with UI students, faculty and staff. Several of these projects have resulted in works that have been produced professionally. In addition to Eckert, recent Partnership in the Arts guests have included Obie Award-winning UI alumnus W. David Hancock, hip-hop artist Will Power, Anton Juan, Anne Bogart, Theodora Skipitares, Erik Ehn and David Schweizer.

This production includes material of an adult nature, including nudity and imagery not suitable for children, as well as haze. Potential audience members who are concerned about whether it is appropriate for them should contact the department, 319-335-2700, for more information.

Tickets for the performances of "In the Night" are $17; UI student $5 with a valid UI ID; senior citizen $12; youth $10 from the Hancher Box Office.

The Hancher Box Office, in the Old Capitol Centre, is open for phone (319-335-1160 or 800-HANCHER) or walk-up business from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays. Tickets may be ordered online at Any remaining tickets will be available for sale one hour before show time at the UI Theatre Building.

The Department of Theatre Arts and the Department of Dance units of the UI Division of Performing Arts in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Photos are available at:

UI arts events are searchable on the UI Master Calendar: Exhibitions are searchable at To receive UI arts news by e-mail, go to and click the link "Join or Leave ACR News," then follow the instructions.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: Eric Forsythe, Department of Theatre Arts,;Winston Barclay, University News Services, 319-430-1013,