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Release: April 16, 1999

Iowa Playwrights Festival at UI premieres five new plays May 3-8

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa department of theatre arts and the Iowa Playwrights Workshop will present the Iowa Playwrights Festival, their ambitious, annual extravaganza of new theater, May 3-8 in the UI Theatre Building.

The festival -- a unique event in U.S. college theater -- will feature more than a dozen public events, including productions and readings of new scripts from the Iowa Playwrights Workshop, and panel discussions by guest artists.

The five main evening productions will be:

-- "The Saint of Morella" by Allison Moore, a comedy set in a Renaissance Spanish town that suddenly finds itself with a saint on it hands, at 5:30 and 9 p.m. Monday, May 3 in the
David Thayer Theatre;

-- a workshop production of Amy Wheeler's "Weeping Woman," a drama tracing a mother and daughter's haunting journey -- in time and memory -- back to the night when the daughter lost her children, at 5:30 and 9 p.m. Tuesday, May 4 in Theatre B;

-- a workshop production of "Doppel Gang-Bang," David Adjmi's black comedy in which Little Orphan Annie's hyper-extended childhood comes to an abrupt end, at 5:30 and 9 p.m. Wednesday, May 5 in the David Thayer Theatre;

-- Kirsten Greenidge's "each loop like you mean it," a drama in which the supernatural affects a young woman's venture into the world of crocheting, at 5:30 and 9 p.m. Friday, May 7 in the David Thayer Theatre; and

-- the comedy "Sunday Morning 2 Men Cooking" by Margaret Baldwin, in which Big Silver and Little Buck may have God and the Little Butter Girls for guests, at 5:30 and 9 p.m. Saturday, May 8, in Theatre B.

Admission to the evening productions is $7, with a five-show Iowa Playwrights Festival package available for $28. For UI students, senior citizens and youth, admission is $5, with a festival package available for $20.

Tickets will be on sale in advance from noon-1:30 p.m. May 3-7 at the Theatre Building box office. The box office will be open one hour before each evening performance with tickets to all remaining performances on sale.

The public is also invited to a variety of free readings and discussions throughout the week. Festival guests include Paul Walsh, dramaturg and director of humanities at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco; UI alumna playwright Darrah Cloud; playwright Naomi Iizuka; and playwright/director Chay Yew.

The festival's readings range from excepts of new writing by undergraduate playwrights to the newest script by veteran actor/writer Levy "Lee" Simon, the recent winner of the American College Theatre Festival's Lorraine Hansberry Award, honoring the nation's best student play about the African-American experience.

Simon won for "The Bow-Bow Club," which was premiered at the Iowa Playwrights Festival last spring. It is the latest in a long series of festival plays that have gone on to receive awards, be selected for publication or be given successful professional productions.

Some productions in the Iowa Playwrights Festival may include material of an adult nature. Potential audience members who are concerned about whether a particular play is appropriate for them should call the department, 319-335-2700, for additional information.

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May 3-9, 1999, University of Iowa Theatre Building

Productions: $7 non-students, Package of 5 shows, $28 ($5 students, seniors, youth, Package, $20)

Monday, May 3

1:30 P.M. Reading: RED LIGHT, GREEN LIGHT by Scott Working (Catalano Acting Studio)

5:30 and 9 P.M. Production: THE SAINT OF MORELLA by Allison Moore (Thayer Theatre)

Tuesday, May 4

1:30 P.M. Reading: CREATURES OF THE CALM by Steven Fratalli (Catalano)

4 P.M. Guest Panel: Playwrights Darrah Cloud and Naomi Iizuka (Mabie Theatre)

5:30 and 9:00 P.M. Workshop Production: WEEPING WOMAN by Amy Wheeler (Theatre B)

Wednesday, May 5

1:30 P.M. Reading: A HOUSE DIVIDED by Mark Perry (Catalano)

5:30 P.M. and 9:00 P.M. Workshop Production: DOPPEL GANG-BANG by David Adjmi (Thayer)

Thursday, May 6

1:30 P.M. Reading: FOR THE LOVE OF FREEDOM by Levy "Lee" Simon, Jr. (Catalano)

4 P.M. Guest Panel: Playwright/Director Chay Yew, Dramaturg Paul Walsh (Mabie)


Friday, May 7

10 A.M.: Reading: OLYMPIC DINER by Bronwen Bitteti (Catalano)

1:30 P.M. Reading: SUNFLOWER TOWN by Kara Hartzler (Catalano)

5:30 and 9 P.M. Production: EACH LOOP LIKE YOU MEAN IT by Kirsten Greenidge (Thayer)

Saturday, May 8

5:30 and 9 P.M. Production: SUNDAY MORNING 2 MEN COOKING by Margaret Baldwin (B)