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Release: Feb. 18, 2000
Iowa Summer Rep 2000 season to feature playwright Edward Albee
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Edward Albee, three-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize
for drama, has been selected as the featured playwright of the 2000 season
by Iowa Summer Rep, the professional company of the University of Iowa department
of theatre arts. Each season Iowa Summer Rep presents a festival of plays
by a single contemporary playwright.
The 2000 Iowa Summer Rep season, June 21 through July 23 in the UI Theatre
Building, will feature Albee's most famous play, "Who's Afraid of Virginia
Woolf?" as well as two of his Pulitzer Prize winners, "A Delicate
Balance" and "Seascape."
"To me, Edward Albee means power and wit combined in breathtaking ways,"
says UI department of theatre arts faculty member Eric Forsythe, artistic
director of Iowa Summer Rep. "He audaciously jumps into your living room
or into your beach party and shakes things up. I can't imagine a more exhilarating
Beginning in the late 1950s, Albee established a reputation for creating
dramatic tension while simultaneously voicing serious social criticism, becoming
a catalyst for the return to socially aware theater in the wake of the McCarthy
In addition to "A Delicate Balance" and "Seascape,"
he won the Pulitzer Prize in 1994 for "Three Tall Women." His three
Pulitzers rank second only to Eugene O'Neill. Tony Awards went to "Who's
Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" and "A Delicate Balance." In 1996
he received a Kennedy Center Lifetime Achievement Award, and in 1997 he was
awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Clinton.
At the Kennedy Center Honors Ceremony in 1996, Albee was praised for his
impact on American drama: "Edward Albee burst into the American theatrical
scene in the late 1950s with a variety of plays that detailed the agonies
and disillusionment of that decade and the transition from the placid Eisenhower
years to the turbulent 1960s. Albee's plays, with their intensity, their grappling
with modern themes, and their experiments in form, startled critics and audiences
alike while changing the landscape of American drama."
His 25 works include "Zoo Story," "The Sandbox," "The
Death of Bessie Smith," "The Ballad of a Sad Cafe," "Tiny
Alice," "Everything in the Garden," "Quotations from Chairman
Mao Tse-tung," "All over" and "The Lady from Dubuque."
"Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf," which was a scandalous success
in its movie version starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, portrays
a hard-drinking, disillusioned, abusive academic couple. Forsythe's father,
the Tony Award-winning actor Henderson Forsythe, a UI theater alumnus, was
featured in the original Broadway productions of "Who's Afraid of Virginia
Woolf?" and "A Delicate Balance."
"Seascape," which combines theatrical experiment and social commentary,
is a story about a retired vacationing couple who meet a pair of sea lizards
at the beach.
A London review described "A Delicate Balance" as "a caustically
funny and moving exploration of love, compassion and the bonds of friendship
and family" as a couple attempts to maintain the "delicate balance"
between the practical facade of sanity and the terrifying reality of madness.
For many seasons Iowa Summer Rep has pursued a unique focus in American
summer theater with its single-playwright festivals, but last season Iowa
Summer Rep also became an Actor's Equity Company, elevating its status as
a professional theater company.
A full schedule of Iowa Summer Rep 2000 will be announced later this spring.
For UI arts news and calendar updates, visit uiowa.edu/~uiowacr
on the World Wide Web.