CONTACT: WINSTON BARCLAY
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0073; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: Sept. 29, 2000
(NOTE TO EDITORS: Director Eric Forsythe is reachable through the UI Department
of Theatre Arts, 319-335-2700, or by e-mail at <email@example.com>.)
University Theatres season at UI opens with 'Marat/Sade' Oct. 12-19
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University Theatres Mainstage season at the University
of Iowa will open with Peter Weiss "Marat/Sade," one of the
most provocative and influential musical plays from the 1960s, Oct. 12-29
in the David Thayer Theatre of the UI Theatre Building. Performances will
be at 8 p.m. Oct. 12-14, 18-21 and 25-28, and at 3 p.m. Sundays, Oct. 15,
22 and 29.
A German-born Swedish playwright, Weiss is considered among the most important
and controversial dramatists of post-World War II Europe. With "Marat/Sade"
he created an unconventional stage spectacle that has been termed "total
theatre," combining drama, comedy, choreography, special effects and
music in an exploration of the relationship between revolution and madness.
The play, featuring music by composer Richard Peaslee, captured both the New
York Critics Circle and Tony awards for best play of 1966.
"The result is a vivid work that vibrates on wild, intense, murmurous
and furious levels," wrote a critic for the New York Times in a1965 review
of the plays premiere at New Yorks Martin Beck Theater. "It
is sardonic and impassioned, pitiful and explosive. It may put you off at
times with its apparent absurdity, or it may shock you with its allusions
to violence and naked emotions. But it will not leave you untouched."
"The Persecution and Assassination of Jean Paul Marat as Performed
by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis
de Sade," to give the plays full title, was first performed in
West Berlin in 1964. It is set in the bath hall of a French asylum, where
the imprisoned Marquis de Sade leads mental patients and political prisoners
in a theatrical retelling of the murder of the revolutionary leader Jean-Paul
Marat. This shocking drama unfolds before an audience of French gentry, who
can only wonder: Will the violence and madness remain contained on the stage?
Weiss script builds a dramatic fiction from two historical facts.
First, the Marquis de Sade -- best remembered for his violent pornographic
writings that inspired the term "sadism" -- actually did direct
plays while confined to the Charenton asylum from 1801 until his death in
1814. Second, Jean-Paul Marat, who incited the French people to commit violent
acts during the French Revolution, was soaking in an herbal bath to treat
a painful skin condition contracted from hiding in the sewers of Paris, when
he was stabbed to death by Charlotte Corday, an activist in a political faction
who opposed the bloodbath that the revolution had become.
Although Marat and Sade never met, Weiss imagines the rich possibilities
for both humorous and dramatically charged commentary as the two leaders debate
human history, dreams, obsessions and institutions. Does freedom mean simply
the license to act on ones private urges, or does it imply loftier aspirations?
Director Eric Forsythe, a faculty member in the UI department of theatre
arts, says, "Marat/Sade is a musical play that got
under my skin the moment I saw its original production more than 30 years
ago. Ive been humming the songs ever since. I think the intellectual
focus of the production, the imaginary debate between Marat (the uncompromising
architect of the French Revolution) and de Sade (the uncompromising visionary
of personal freedom) is more pertinent and balanced today than ever. And there
are those great songs . . . "
Other artistic contributors to the Mainstage production of "Marat/Sade"
are set designer Alison Ford, costume designer Kaoime Malloy, lighting designer
Wendy Luedtke, music director Anton Hatwich, and dramaturgs Tom Gibbons and
Tickets for "Marat/Sade" are $15 ($7 for UI students, senior citizens
and youth). Tickets are available in advance from the Hancher box office.
Any remaining tickets for each performance will be available one hour before
curtain time at the Theatre Building box office.
"Marat/Sade" tickets are available at a 20-percent discount as
part of a 3-play or 5-play University Theatres Mainstage subscription package.
A brochure that details the entire season is available from the Hancher box
office, or from the Department of Theatre Arts, 319-335-2700.
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
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 -- www.uiowa.edu/artsiowa
-- on the World Wide Web. Learn more about the Department of Theatre Arts
and University Theatres at <http://www.uiowa.edu/~theatre>.
To receive UI arts news by e-mail, contact <email@example.com>.