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Release: Sept. 15, 2000

Gate Theatre of Dublin, Ireland, presents Samuel Beckett Festival at UI Oct. 4-8

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The Gate Theatre of Dublin, Ireland, will present a Samuel Beckett Festival, co-sponsored by Hancher Auditorium and the University of Iowa department of theatre arts Oct. 4-8. The main events are performances of "Krapp’s Last Tape" at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 4 and "Waiting for Godot" at 8 p.m. Oct. 5-7 in E.C. Mabie Theatre of the UI Theatre Building.

UI emeritus faculty member Sam Becker will lead a discussion with actor David Kelly from the stage after the "Krapp’s Last Tape" performance. The Oct. 5 "Waiting for Godot" performance will feature a post-performance discussion with the artists, moderated by theater faculty member Art Borecca.

The festival also includes free public events and radio broadcasts.

-- UI radio stations KSUI, 91.7 FM, and WSUI, 910 AM, will broadcast specially organized 30-minute productions of Beckett’s radio plays "Rough for Radio II" and "The Old Tune," prepared by directors and actors from the UI department of theatre arts and Iowa City’s Riverside Theater. The directors are Ron Clark, artistic director of Riverside Theater, and Mary Ellen O’Hara, a recent Master of Fine Arts directing graduate from the UI. WSUI will broadcast "Rough for Radio II" at 9:30 p.m. Sept. 23 and 3:30 p.m. Sept. 24; and "The Old Tune" at 9:30 p.m. Sept. 30 and 3:30 p.m. Oct. 1. KSUI will broadcast both productions at 3 p.m. Sept. 24.

-- Actors from the Gate Theatre will discuss Beckett’s work from the performers’ perspective at 1:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 6 in Theatre B of the Theatre Building. The discussion will be moderated by Alan MacVey, chair of the UI department of theatre arts.

-- Reflecting the fact that much of Beckett’s literary output was in French, the UI French department will sponsor a symposium, "Waiting for Godot; Listening to Krapp: Samuel Beckett’s Theater" at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 3 in Room 304 of the UI English-Philosophy Building. The symposium will feature "Beckett Circle" editor Mary Lydon, a Beckett scholar from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. For additional information, contact UI faculty member Downing Thomas at 319-335-2253.

The Gate Theatre is renowned for its productions of Irish playwrights, and the company’s Beckett productions have been hailed as definitive.

The solo production "Krapp’s Last Tape" will be performed by David Kelly, one of the foremost actors of the Irish stage. Krapp is a man who has marked every birthday by making an audio tape about his year, and listening to the tape made the previous year. At the age of 69 he listens to a tape made many years earlier, when his life turned away from love, hope and desire.

In Beckett’s most famous play, "Waiting for Godot," he presents two comic drifters who are waiting for the arrival of someone they don’t know and can’t describe, and they are uncertain what the arrival will mean.

Alan MacVey, chair of theatre arts, says of the practical advantages of the Hancher/Theatre Arts collaboration, "It's very important to bring great plays by great companies to Iowa City. Often these productions need a more intimate space than Hancher Auditorium. The theatre arts department is delighted to give them a home in their theatres."

Playwright, critic and fiction writer Samuel Beckett (1906-1989) was one of the literary titans of the 20th century, a pioneer in the Theater of the Absurd who received the Nobel Prize for literature in 1969. His works address the existential predicament of humanity as well as both the beauty and the barriers of language as a tool of communication.

Brenton Bank is the corporate sponsor of the Gate Theatre’s Beckett Festival, through the University of Iowa Foundation.

Tickets for "Krapp’s Last Tape" are $20 ($10 for UI students and youth, and $16 for senior citizens.) All tickets have been sold for "Waiting for Godot"; the Hancher box office urges interested persons to contact the box office as the performances approach.

Ticket-buyers may take advantage of volume discounts on most events in the season. A simultaneous purchase of three to five events qualifies for a 15-percent discount, and a simultaneous purchase of six or more events qualifies for a 20-percent discount.

Hancher box office hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays. From the local calling area, dial (319) 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 (319) 335-1158. This number will be answered by box office personnel prepared to offer assistance with handicapped parking, wheelchair access and seating, hearing augmentation and other services. The line is equipped with TDD for people with hearing impairment who use that technology.

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