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Release: Oct. 22, 1999

‘The Nina Variations’ gives Chekhov characters another chance to get it right

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University Theatres Second Stage series will present "The Nina Variations," a comedy by prolific contemporary playwright Steven Dietz, at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, Nov. 4-6, and at 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 7, in Theatre B of the University of Iowa Theatre Building.

Dietz based his play on the "The Seagull" by Anton Chekhov, giving two of the play’s characters another chance to get it right -- in fact, 42 more chances.

Director Carol MacVey, a faculty member in the UI department of theatre arts, explains: "Dietz has used the two young characters, Nina and Treplev, and shaped 42 short variations on what these two might have said, could have said, or should have said at various junctures in their meetings. Their talk revolves around the questions of what it means to be a playwright, what it means to be an actor, and what it means to love."

"The Nina Variations" premiered in 1996 at the Contemporary American Theatre Festival. The UI production uses a subsequent revision, completed last year.

Dietz is one of America’s most prolific -- and most produced -- playwrights, with more than 20 plays to his credit, including "Lonely Planet," "Private Eyes," "God’s Country," "More Fun Than Bowling," "Dracula," "Still Life With Iris," "Halcyon Days" and "Trust." His plays have been produced by more than 200 regional and off-Broadway theaters.

His honors include the 1994 PEN Center USA West Award in drama, a Drama-Logue Award, an Outer Critic's Circle Nomination and grants from the Jerome Foundation, the Knight Foundation and the Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays.

The Second Stage production of "The Nina Variations" features costume designs by Kathy Hemann and scenic and lighting design by Ethan Bade.

Tickets for "The Nina Variations" will be $7 ($4 for UI students, seniors and youth) at the door, beginning one hour before curtain time.

(NOTE TO EDITORS: We have a scanned photo of Steven Dietz, which we can e-mail to you on request.)