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Release: Immediate

Season subscriptions are now on sale for University Theatres Mainstage at UI

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Season packages go on sale Aug. 24 for the 1998-99 University Theatres Mainstage productions at the University of Iowa. A free ticket-order brochure, which promises a season that "Takes You Beyond the Ordinary," is available from the Hancher Auditorium box office, or from the UI department of theatre arts at 319-353-2700.

The Mainstage season is available at a 20-percent discount in three-play and five-play packages. Individual tickets to each of the season's five productions will go on sale Sept. 14 at the Hancher box office.

The 1998-99 season was planned in conjunction with the UI's Global Focus: Human Rights '98, which commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The season's productions of classic and contemporary theater probe the human condition through humor and invention, realism and fantasy.

The Mainstage plays are: "Cloud 9" by Caryl Churchill, Oct. 15-25 in E.C. Mabie Theatre of the UI Theatre Building; "Everything That Rises Must Converge," adapted by Karin Coonrod from short stories by Flannery O'Connor, Nov. 5-15 in the David Thayer Theatre of the Theatre Building; Steve Martin's "Picasso at the Lapin Agile," Feb. 4-21 in Theatre B; "A Raisin in the Sun" by Lorraine Hansberry, celebrating the 30th anniversary of UI Black Action Theatre, Feb. 25-March 7 in E.C. Mabie Theatre; and the 1993 Obie Award winner, Jose Rivera's "Marisol," April 8-18 in the David Thayer Theatre.

In "Cloud 9," now recognized as one of the landmark plays of the 1970s, Churchill tackles issues of gender, class, family and race with daring comedy and theatrical flair. The story begins in the colonial Africa of the late 19th century, when the British mania for propriety was at its height, but when the Act II curtain rises on late 20th-century England, the empire and all its purported certainties have evaporated. The actors have switched roles and genders, and both values and identities have been sent reeling.

Flannery O'Connor is among the UI's most distinguished alumni, and "Everything That Rises Must Converge" will be a UI world premiere. Staged by New York director Karin Coonrod, the production is this season's Partnership in the Arts project. Partnership in the Arts invites prominent theater professionals to develop significant new works for the stage, in collaboration with UI Theatre Arts faculty, staff and students.

Steve Martin is not only one of the world's most inventive and popular comic actors; he is also an avid collector of art. In "Picasso at the Lapin Agile" he imagines a meeting between Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso in a turn-of-the-century Parisian cafe. Just before the twin revolutions of relativity and cubism, two of the modern world's great minds comically circle the transforming ideas of the century.

"A Raisin in the Sun" opened on Broadway 40 years ago, becoming a landmark in American theater and a catalyst for African-American drama. Hansberry portrayed the daily joys and furies, hopes and hungers of a family striving for the American dream in the 1950s Chicago ghetto. The UI was a pioneer in African-America studies, and Black Action Theatre now enters its fourth decade exploring the breadth and richness of the African-American experience in theater.

In his futuristic urban fantasy "Marisol," Jose Rivera concocts a world where the moon has vanished, people are tortured for exceeding their credit limits, and a war in heaven has spilled over into the smoldering wasteland of New York City. "Marisol" is an over-the-top treatment of environmental, moral, social and political decay as the millennium approaches.

The Mainstage season brochure also includes information about the productions of University Theatres Second Stage and the Iowa Playwrights Festival.

The three-play Mainstage package is $36 ($18 for UI students, senior citizens and audience members 17 and younger). The five-play package is $60 ($28 for UI students, senior citizens and youth).

Hancher box office hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday and 1-3 p.m. Sunday. From the local calling area or outside Iowa, dial (319) 335-1160. Long distance within Iowa and western Illinois is toll-free, 1-800-HANCHER. Fax to (319) 353-2284. Orders may be charged to VISA, MasterCard or American Express. UI students may charge their purchases to their university bills, and UI faculty and staff may select the option of payroll deduction.

People with special needs for access, seating and auxiliary services should dial (319) 335-1158. The line is equipped with TDD for people with hearing impairment who use that technology.

Global Focus: Human Rights '98 is a cross - disciplinary program of teaching, research and action of the UI and its surrounding communities, designed to address the problems and prospects of human rights as the 21st century approaches. The program will feature distinguished speakers, scholarly lectures, panel discussions, published research, curricular innovations, community forums, radio broadcasts, artistic displays, theatrical events, films and musical offerings. Global Focus will include visits by Chinese dissident Wei Jingsheng; human rights lawyer Jerome Shestack, president of the American Bar Association; and Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel. For more information, visit the Global Focus website at <>