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Release: June 30, 2000

July 16 Iowa Summer Rep reading features two of Albee's one-act plays at UI

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Iowa Summer Rep 2000 will round out its festival of plays by Pulitzer Prize-winning American playwright Edward Albee with minimally staged readings of two of his short plays -- "Counting the Ways" and "Listening" -- at 2 p.m. Sunday, July 16 in Theatre B of the University of Iowa Theatre Building.

"Counting the Ways" is a "vaudeville" that explores the interactions of a couple -- "He" and "She" -- long married but uncertain if love has survived. A New York Times review described it as a play "full of that particular Albee prescription of fun and menace."

Albee originally conceived of "Listening" as a radio play. Written in a form akin to musical composition, this "chamber play" weaves together strands of conversation to portray how communication shapes our lives. A New York Times critic proclaimed, "The beauty of Mr. Albee's writing has never been more evident."

Combining these plays into a single production follows Albee's lead. He directed the American premiere of the duo in 1977. The Iowa Summer Rep readings are directed by William Barbour.

Beginning in the late 1950s, Albee established a reputation for creating dramatic tension while simultaneously voicing serious social criticism. In addition to "Seascape," he won the Pulitzer Prize for "Three Tall Women" and "A Delicate Balance." His three Pulitzers rank second only to Eugene O'Neill's four. Tony Awards for Broadway productions went 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 roller-coaster ride!"

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 readings of "Counting the Ways" and "Listening" are $5. Tickets may be purchased in advance from the Hancher Auditorium box office. Any remaining tickets will be available one hour before curtain time at the Theatre Building box office.

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 <>.

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.

For UI arts information, visit <> on the World Wide Web. To receive UI arts news by e-mail, contact <>.