CONTACT: WINSTON BARCLAY
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0073; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: June 16, 2000
Albee's Pulitzer-winning 'A Delicate Balance' continues Iowa Summer Rep
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The Iowa Summer Rep 2000 festival of plays by Edward
Albee will continue with the opening of "A Delicate Balance," the
1966 play that won the first of Albee's three Pulitzer Prizes, at 8 p.m. Thursday,
June 29 in E.C. Mabie Theatre of the University of Iowa Theatre Building.
Additional performances will be at 8 p.m. June 30 and July 1, 7 and 8.
In "A Delicate Balance" Agnes and Tobias are a middle-aged couple
maintaining a delicately balanced marriage built on easy choices and unilateral
decisions made years ago. Retirement should be an idyllic and secure time
in their lives, but their equilibrium is challenged not only by Agnes' ever-present
alcoholic sister, Claire, but also by their daughter Julia's return home from
her fourth failed marriage. Into this already tense situation, their best
friends arrive, desperately seeking refuge from an unnamed terror.
Guest director Susan Gregg, an Iowa Summer Rep veteran who is associate
artistic director of the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, says, "I remember
dismissing 'A Delicate Balance' because I didn't understand what the terror
was. It's true that I'm 25 years older now and understand all too well what
the terror is, but more importantly, the play is likewise that much older
and this is the year 2000 -- perhaps we've caught up with it. Albee specifies
that it be set 'now,' so it's October, 1999, just before the turn of the millennium,
when the whole world is looking backwards as much as forwards. That's the
source of the terror."
As the already uneasy balance of their marriage teeters, what are Agnes
and Tobias to do: Turn their friends away, betray the friendship and destroy
years of trust, or welcome them to stay forever and in doing so bring the
terror down upon themselves? And which is desirable in the end, nurturing
illusions of security and order, or facing the devastating truth?
A New York Daily News review called "A Delicate Balance" "a
beautiful play . . . filled with humor and compassion and touched with poetry."
A London review described it as "a caustically funny and moving exploration
of love, compassion and the bonds of friendship and family."
Other artistic contributors to the Iowa Summer Rep 2000 production of "A
Delicate Balance" are set designer Alison Ford, costume designer Loyce
Arthur, lighting designer Bryon Winn and sound designer Mark Bruckner.
Beginning in the late 1950s, Albee established a reputation for creating
dramatic tension while simultaneously voicing serious social criticism. In
addition to "A Delicate Balance" and "Seascape," he won
the Pulitzer Prize for "Three Tall Women" in 1994, and his three
Pulitzers rank second only to Eugene O'Neill's four. Tony Awards for Broadway
productions went not only to "A Delicate Balance" but also to "Who's
Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"
In 1996, Albee received a Kennedy Center Lifetime Achievement Award, and
in 1997 he was awarded the National Medal of Arts.
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."
"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
For many seasons Iowa Summer Rep has pursued a unique focus in American
summer theater with its single-playwright festivals, and last season Iowa
Summer Rep also became an Actor's Equity Company, elevating its status as
a professional theater company.
Tickets for the Iowa Summer Rep 2000 production of "A Delicate Balance"
are $17 ($13 for senior citizens, and $9 for students). Tickets may be purchased
in advance from the Hancher Auditorium box office. Any remaining tickets for
each performance will be available one hour before curtain time at the Theatre
Building box office.
Tickets may be purchased at a substantial discount as part of an Iowa Summer
Rep subscription package. A $40 package ($31 for senior citizens and $22 for
students) also includes the Tony Award winner "Who's Afraid of Virginia
Woolf?," June 29-July 8, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning "Seascape,"
Hancher box office summer hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays. From the
local calling area, dial 335-1160. Long distance 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. Information
and brochures may be requested by e-mail at <email@example.com>.
People with special needs for access, seating and auxiliary services should
dial 335-1158. This line is equipped with TDD for people with hearing impairment
who use that technology.
Iowa Summer Rep ticketholders may complete their theatrical outing with
a choice of picnic-box dinners at Eddie's Landing, overlooking the Iowa River.
Reservations are required: Call 319-335-3105. Orders must be received before
5 p.m. one day in advance.
Reservation forms are available at the Hancher box office or the department
of theatre arts. Reservations may also be placed on the World Wide Web at
Picnics are available for 8 p.m. performances only, and will be available
for pick-up at 6 p.m.
For UI arts information, visit <www.uiowa.edu/~uiowacr> on the World
Wide Web. To receive UI arts news by e-mail, contact <firstname.lastname@example.org>.