CONTACT: WINSTON BARCLAY
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0073; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: April 13, 2001
Iowa New Play Festival Will Premiere 12 New Scripts
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The Iowa Playwrights Festival,
a week-long whirlwind of adventurous theater with a premiere production each
day, has been an annual University of Iowa theater highlight for many seasons.
The department of theatre arts tradition of producing, reading and analyzing
new Iowa Playwrights Workshop scripts in a concentrated festival continues
this spring, April 30-May 5, in the Theatre Building, but the event has a
new name -- the Iowa New Play Festival.
The new name more accurately symbolizes what the festival
has always been about: the collaboration of all areas of the department --
playwrights, directors, designers, actors and technical resources -- in the
production and showcasing of new work. And the educational value of the enterprise
is shared by students in all of those disciplines.
With its new name, the Iowa New Play Festival remains
a unique event for theater lovers to sink their teeth into. It is the most
ambitious festival of new student theatrical work anywhere in the country.
This season the festival will premiere a dozen new scripts in readings and
Guest respondents for the festival will be: Elissa
Adams, literary manager of the Childrens Theatre Company and former
literary director of the Playwrights Center in the Twin Cities; Smith College
faculty member Len Berkman, a playwright and dramaturg with Mark Taper Forums
Playwright Mentor Series in Los Angeles; Robert Blacker, artistic director
of the Sundance Theatre Laboratory; Juliette Carillo, director of the Hispanic
Playwrights Festival and the Pacific Playwrights Festival; Scott T. Cummings,
a faculty member at Boston College and a regular contributor to American Theater
magazine; and Irish playwright Mike Finn, who was a participant in the UI
International Writing Program last fall and this spring is writer-in-residence
with UI International Programs.
The entire schedule of festival events takes place
in the UI Theatre Building.
APRIL 30, MONDAY
Reading: stunning" by David Adjmi, 2:30 p.m.,
Cosmo Catalano Acting Studio (Room 172).
Production: "Tossing Sticks" by Lisa Day, directed
by Maggie Conroy. 5:30 & 9 p.m., Theatre B, Days capsule description
of her play is, " Baby sister hides vodka under the bed, father communicates
with squirrel life, the dog watches with enlightened detachment -- Welcome
MAY 1, TUESDAY
Reading: "Urgent Fury" by Allison Moore, 1:30
p.m., Cosmo Catalano Acting Studio.
Productions: "Jeremy Frey Kicked a Hole in the Sky"
by Kara Hartzler, directed by Andrew Golla; and "The Misbegotten Pilgrimage
of Bilbal and the She-Ass, or, The Donkey Play" by Mark Perry, directed
by William Barbour. 5:30 & 9 p.m., David Thayer Theatre.
In the fantasy "Jeremy Frey Kicked a Hole in
the Sky," a ball kicked a little TOO high launches best friends Jeremy
and Natalie into an epic adventure involving absurd mothers, giant squirrels
and Gods escape from Heaven as they attempt to repair the punctured
The Biblical story of Balaam and the ass is the starting
point for the comic romp of "The Donkey Play."
MAY 2, WEDNESDAY
Reading: "Three Figures" by Robert Wray, 1:30
p.m., Cosmo Catalano Acting Studio.
Production: "Familiar" by Kirsten Greenidge,
directed by Kristin Horton. 5:30 & 9 p.m., Theatre B. Confronted by clams,
cats and catastrophic yearning, Jill finds herself in a web of predicaments:
Her mother wont leave her hole in the sand, her brother is afraid to
leave the house unassisted, a new employee has infiltrated the family business,
and her only friend is drowning in a sea of sexual confusion
MAY 3, THURSDAY
Reading: "The Road to Santiago" by Jeannine
Coulombe, 1:30 p.m., Cosmo Catalano Acting Studio.
Production: "The Last Scene" by Victoria Stewart,
directed by Carol MacVey. 5:30 & 9 p.m.,
David Thayer Theatre. Based on an actual event in 1949, "The Last Scene"
tells a story of marriage, betrayal and artistic ideals. Director Nick Rays
marriage to his leading lady, Gloria Grahame, is on the rocks; his leading
actor, Humphrey Bogart, has had too much to drink; and his best friend, Art
Smith, is about to be blacklisted. Through all of this, Nick tries to find
the perfect ending to his classic film noir, "In A Lonely Place."
MAY 4, FRIDAY
Production: "The Ghosts of Romance" by Cyndi
Coyne, directed by Lad Brown. 5:30 & 9 p.m., Theatre B, Theatre Building.
Coyne says her five meditations on concept of love are "filled to the
brim with sex, harsh language, with wholesome intention, and high
quality drugs in moderation." Production: "Untitled (Five Boxes
for Joseph Cornell)" created by Bronwen Bitetti, Jeremy Wilhelm and Joseph
Ferron Hiatt. 8 p.m., 9:30 p.m. and 11 p.m., E.C. Mabie Stage. This collaborative
work is an investigation of the life, work, and influences of visual artist
MAY 5, SATURDAY
Production: "Missed America" by Joseph Ferron
Hiatt, directed by Liza Williams. 5:30 & 9 p.m., Theatre B. "BEAUTY
QUEENS ATTACK!" warns Hiatt. In "Missed America," an abject
family ventures out into a mythic American utopia. On their way they encounter
wandering beauty queens of every form: "virginal and slack, benevolent
and venal, blessed and cruel."
Admission to the readings is free.
Tickets for festival productions are $6 ($3 for UI
students, senior citizens, and youth). Tickets will be available noon to 1:30
p.m. April 30 through May 4 at UI Theatre Building Box Office, or one hour
before each performance.
Some festival productions include material of an adult
nature. Potential patrons who are concerned about whether the productions
are suitable for them should contact the department of theatre arts -- (319)
335-2700.) -- for additional information.
Many of the plays developed through the Iowa Playwrights
Workshop and presented in the festival have gone on to successful professional
productions, have been honored with theatrical awards or have been invited
to theater festivals.
For example, Peter Ullians "In the Shadow of
the Terminal Tower" was selected by Harold Prince for development as
a musical, and as "Eliot Ness in Cleveland" it premiered in Denver.
Naomi Wallaces Iowa Playwrights Festival scripts "The War Boys"
and "In the Heart of America" have been given major productions
in London. Kate Aspengren presented "Dear Mrs. Martin" in the festival,
where it was seen by a representative of the Samuel French publishing house,
leading to the scripts publication and availability to theaters throughout
More recently, Levy "Lee" Simon won the American
College Theatre Festival Lorraine Hansberry Award for "The Bow Wow Club,"
which premiered in the 1998 Iowa Playwrights Festival and is in development
for a film production. Both Simon and current playwright Kirsten Greenidge
were invited to the prestigious National Playwrights Conference at the Eugene
ONeill Theater Center.
Over the years, the festival has produced scripts by numerous
young playwrights who have gone on to distinguished careers in theater --
including Rebecca Gilman, whose "Spinning into Butter" has been
one of the most talked-about plays of recent months; Pulitzer Prize and Tony
Award finalist Lee Blessing; Emmy Award and Jefferson Award winner Rick Cleveland;
Darrah Cloud, whose "O Pioneers" was broadcast by PBS and is currently
being toured by the Acting Company; Todd Ristau, the editor of yawp.com whose
work has been performed at the Edinburgh Festival and the London West End;
Judy GeBauer, whose plays have been widely produced; Charles Smith, playwright-in-residence
at the Victory Gardens Theatre in Chicago and a faculty member at Ohio University;
"Halloween 5" screenwriter Shem Bitterman; and Obie Award winner
The department of theatre arts is a unit of the UI Division
of Performing Arts, in the College of Liberal Arts.
For UI arts information, visit this new address -- www.uiowa.edu/artsiowa
-- on the World Wide Web. To receive UI arts news by e-mail, contact <email@example.com>.