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University of Iowa News Release

Sept. 16, 2004

UI Gallery Series Opens With 'Father Bob' Sept. 30

The University of Iowa Department of Theatre Arts will begin its 2004-2005 Gallery productions -- a series of shows written by students in the Iowa Playwrights Workshop or staged by student directors -- with "Father Bob" by Chris Leyva at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, Sept. 30 - Oct. 2, and at 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 3, in Theatre B of the UI Theatre Building.

Leyva is a second-year student in the Playwrights Workshop. "Father Bob" is his first UI production as a writer, after he acted, directed and designed for previous productions.

The play addresses sexuality in the context of the Catholic Church, but it is not about sexual abuse by priests or the resulting scandals. Instead, it portrays a young, progressive priest attempting to assist an eighth-grade girl whose sexuality is awakening, while also battling the stricter outlook of Father Tom, the head of the parish.

"We meet Julia as she begins to doubt her faith in God and more and more questions about sex come into her mind," Leyva explains. "She takes her questions of sexuality to her best friend, Lacy, whose sister is a sexually active 15-year-old, and she takes her questions of faith to Father Bob, a man who would be considered sexy if he weren't so goofy.

"It is a play about sexuality, but is also about isolation and the personal struggle of finding a sense of self and individuality."

The production is directed by Josh Adler, with set design by Stephen Ptacek, costume design by Jae Hee Kim and lighting design by Annie Croner.

Admission will be $6 ($4 for UI students, senior citizens and youth). Tickets will go on sale at the door one hour before curtain time.

This production includes material of an adult nature. Potential audience members who are concerned about whether it is appropriate for them should contact the department in advance -- 319-335-2700 -- for additional information.

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,

OTHER INFORMATION: The playwright can be reached at