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University of Iowa News Release

Oct. 8, 2004

Gallery Series Presents Wallace Shawn's 'Aunt Dan and Lemon' Oct. 21-24

The Gallery series in the University of Iowa Department of Theatre Arts will present Wallace Shawn's "Aunt Dan and Lemon," directed by graduate student William Barbour, at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, Oct. 21-23, and at 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 24 in Theatre B of the UI Theatre Building.

"Aunt Dan and Lemon" is set in London in the years surrounding the Vietnam War. Through the memories of an isolated and troubled woman (Lemon) the play portrays her relationship with a vivacious American woman, Aunt Dan.

Through Dan's passion for powerful men who can flex their muscles with impunity in the name of freedom, and Lemon's increasing withdrawal, Shawn addresses a central moral question of our time -- how literate, civilized society can commit the most obscene acts of history.

"This is an important play to our audiences of today," says Barbour, who also designed the lighting for the production. "The questions we ask our government about the world events today, especially in Iraq, are the same we asked during the Vietnam War; and while the play isn't preaching any one viewpoint, I hope the audience can both enjoy the unique journey Lemon takes us on and examine their own ideas of compassion and moral world leadership."

Barbour, who is pursuing a doctorate in collaborative performance, is a director, dramaturg and award-winning audio and visual artist whose work has been seen in Los Angeles, Korea and Japan. He recently won the Iram Award for directing Cristina Pippa's "When Cows Fly" during the 2004 Iowa New Play Festival.

Other artistic contributors to the "Aunt Dan and Lemon" production include costume designers Stephanie Hinton and Abby Reiter, sound designer Daniel Murphy and set designer Mindy Theisman.

Wallace Shawn is instantly recognizable as one of Hollywood's busiest comic actors and inimitable voice talents, featured in nearly 75 films, beginning with Woody Allen's "Manhattan" in 1979. Among his most famous acting roles are in "The Princess Bride," "My Dinner With Andre" (which he co-wrote), "Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills" and "Clueless." He has also been a guest star on numerous television shows, and millions of viewers know him as Grand Nagus Zek on "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine."

But Shawn is also an Obie Award-winning playwright of serious drama, and his playwriting began more than a decade before his unlikely movie stardom. He won one of his Obies for "The Fever," a monologue play that Shawn performed, as a preview, in the UI Theater Building when his long-time partner, Deborah Eisenberg, was a guest faculty member in the Iowa Writers' Workshop. A film version of that work is now in post-production.

He won another Obie in 1985 for "Distinguished Playwriting" for "Aunt Dan and Lemon."

Admission to the Gallery series production of "Aunt Dan and Lemon" will be $6 ($4 for UI students, senior citizens and youth). Tickets will go on sale at the door one hour before curtain time.

University Theatres Gallery is a series of productions written by students, and/or staged by student directors.

The Department of Theatre Arts is a unit of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

For UI arts information and calendar updates, visit To receive UI arts news by e-mail,

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,