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University of Iowa News Release

Sept. 15, 2004

Theatre Artist Loyce Arthur Kicks Off 'Saturday Scholars' Series Sept. 18

Loyce Arthur, head of the design area of the University of Iowa Department of Theatre Arts, will present "From Kabuki to Peter Pan: Cross Gender and Cross Cultural Theatre Costumes," a free "Saturday Scholars" event at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 18, in Room 40 of Schaeffer Hall on the UI campus.

The presentation is the first event in the 2004 "Saturday Scholars" series, presented by the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

For the past 10 years, Arthur has researched and brought to the stage a number of plays that utilize masks from many different parts of the world, including Italy, West Africa, India, Indonesia, the Caribbean and Japan.

Masks reveal as much as they conceal, she asserts. They have thousands of uses from re-enforcing collective and individual belief systems, to entertaining, to exploring the unknown to revealing the truth.

Her work as a costume designer for the Department of Theatre Arts is influenced by a view of masks as something a performer wears from head to foot. A performer in the costume/mask of a human or non-human comes to life through the voice, movements, and attitude of the performer. He or she becomes someone else.

She feels that some of the most intriguing and exciting masks/costumes are those inhabited by men playing female characters or vice versa. Performance history across the world, past and present, is full of examples of these kinds of characters and the great skill, inventiveness and masterful illusions that go into enacting them.

From Peter Pan to drag queens, from Elizabethan to Kabuki coquettes, theater artists have donned mask/costumes and "played" with what it means to be male or female. Arthur will present a few sacred and profane examples in her presentation.

Saturday Scholars was developed by Linda Maxson, dean of the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, to give members of the public a chance to hear about the latest teaching and research innovations by faculty members in the college. The sessions last about an hour, including a 20-30 minute presentation followed by time for questions. Refreshments are served. All presentations begin at 10 a.m. in Room 40 Schaeffer Hall, the southeast building on the UI Pentacrest.

Additional free "Saturday Scholars" programs will be:
-- Oct. 2: "100 Years and Counting: A "Radical" View of the Science of Aging," by Kevin Kregel from the department of exercise science;
-- Oct. 9: "Broadway Starmaking at the Turn of the Last Century" by Kim Marra from the department of theatre arts;
-- Oct. 23: "Marketing Culture: Native Amazonians in the Public Sphere" by Laura Graham from the department of anthropology; and
-- Oct. 30: "Immigrants' America: Then and Now" by Shelton Stromquist from the department of history.

Additional information on "Saturday Scholars" programs is available at:

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

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,