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Release: Immediate

UI seeks loans of chairs for upcoming theater production about AIDS

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa Theatre Department is seeking to borrow nearly 100 chairs from individuals and businesses, to be used in an upcoming production of Steven Dietz's "Lonely Planet," a play about AIDS. The performances will be Jan. 30 through Feb. 2 as part of University Theatres Gallery series.

Chairs are a dominant symbolic image in the play. "The chairs come to represent people stricken by the virus," explains director Chad Larabee, a UI theater major. "We are inviting anyone who feels strongly about the disease to loan a chair for this project."

All types of chairs are welcome, as long as they are not too large, Larabee says. The chairs will not be altered by the production, but those who loan the chairs may choose to paint, cover or otherwise change the chairs to make them a memorial for a loved one. The only limitation is that they must remain functioning chairs.
"The chairs can be a reminder, a sometimes simple and sometimes dramatic reminder, of their past owners," Larabee says. "We wanted to involve as many people as possible in this important play. Interest has been strong, and some families are already working on their chairs."

Individuals or businesses interested in loaning a chair, or in receiving additional information, may contact Larabee at 338-4488.

Owners' names will be listed in the lobby, if they wish, and if a chair is loaned as a memorial, that person's name will also be listed.

"Lonely Planet" is made possible by a grant from the Michael Barto Fund. Barto, a graduate of the UI Department of Theatre Arts, dedicated much of his professional energy to the creation of theater about AIDS.

"Lonely Planet" performances will be at 8 p.m. Jan. 30 through Feb. 1, and at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Feb. 2 in Theatre B of the UI Theatre Building. Admissions will be $4 ($2 for UI students and senior citizens).