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University of Iowa News Release

Nov. 7, 2003

'Knife Trick' Reflects True-Crime, Suspense Cinema Nov. 18-21

The University Theatres Gallery series will present "The Knife Trick" by University of Iowa graduate-student playwright Randy Noojin at 8 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, Nov. 18-21 in Theatre B of the UI Theatre Building.

Scientific skepticism intermingles with the precariousness of the paranormal in the play's heroine, Peggy Small, played by UI senior Melissa Arnesen-Trunzo. Struggling through the rigors of pre-med studies, Peggy is demoted to remedial frog dissection, while her sister Dina (graduate actor Lauren Armstrong) runs off to the family cabin with a strange drifter (Carlton Blackburn), and she is dragged into a psychic reading by a student rival (graduate actor Jessica Lewis).

Peggy expects the reading to be a brief diversion from her studies, but instead it forever changes her life, and her sister's.

Noojin's script often draws from the familiar dramatic styles of true-crime and suspense movies. Director Janet Bentley casts Noojin's portrayal of the supernatural in an everyday light, while exploring elements of cinema in its staging and design.

Bentley says, "In areas where the text explodes forth with a spectacular chain of events, the stylistic choices drive it forth vividly into the second act, where the audience settles into a grimly sardonic realism."

Admission to "The Knife Trick" will be $5 (UI student, senior citizen and youth $3) at the door. Tickets will go one sale one hour before each performance.

University Theatres Gallery is a series of student productions in the Department of Theatre Arts, which is a unit in the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

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STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Winston Barclay, 319-384-0073,