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University of Iowa News Release

Nov. 18, 2005

University Theatres Second Stage Presents Four 'Off-Center' Plays Dec. 1-11

The University Theatres Second Stage Series will present "Off-Center: Four Plays on the Edge," two pairs of plays that were selected to provide creative challenges to student directors and while being delightful or thought-provoking to theater audiences, Dec. 1-4 and 8-11 in the University of Iowa Theatre Building.

Each pair of plays will be performed on one of the two weekends: "So Who Wears the Boobs In this Family?" and "Alladine and Palomides" at 8 p.m. Dec. 1-3 and 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4, in Theatre B; and "Cry in the Street" and "Woyzeck" at 8 p.m. Dec. 8-10 and 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 11, in the David Thayer Theatre.

The four student directors -- all second-year graduate students in the Master of Fine Arts directing program -- are Rachel Edwards Harvith, Sean Paul Bryan, Scott Pardue and Kevin Harris.

Faculty member Eric Forsythe, head of the directing program in the Department of Theatre Arts, explains, ""These plays were chosen because they place extraordinary creative focus on the director: The material has so much to offer the person who can unlock the mysteries. They require extraordinary vitality and sensitivity in the playing. In short, they require directorial virtuosity. Fortunately, we have four young directors who are handling the challenge with verve, excitement and creative power.

"Each of the plays runs for less than an hour, but packs an amazing amount of action into that short time. The pieces are very different from each other, and so each evening will have variety and interest. We ask our young artists to take risks in their work: creative growth comes from pushing beyond where you feel safe. Entertaining, risky, edgy. It's what we aim for as creative artists. Both weekends 'push the envelope' in very different ways."

"So Who Wears the Boobs in This Family?" is the world premiere of Forsythe's  translation/adaptation of Guillaume Apollinaire's seminal surrealist play, "The Breasts of Teiresias." In this outrageous comedy, a bored housewife decides to become a man, and husband responds by trying to fill her shoes, literally: He dons the clothes of a woman and before the day is done succeeds in having 40,049 babies.

Director Rachel Edwards Harvith has worked as a director, actor, dramaturg and literary associate at the Long Wharf Theatre, the Syracuse Stage, Iowa Summer Rep and Hedgerow Theatre.

In "Alladine and Palomides," written in 1894 by Nobel Prize-winning poet and playwright Maurice Maeterlinck for marionettes, a prince is betrothed to the daughter of a powerful king, but he falls in love with the king's beautiful young slave-girl.

Scott Pardue, the director, has staged works for the 2005 Iowa New Play Festival and the University Theatres Gallery series, and has acted for University Theatres Mainstage.

Director Sean Paul Bryan adapted "Cry in the Street" from an expressionistic play written in 1922 by Rolf Lauckner, about a woman of the streets trying to overcome dangerous temptation by battling against her inner demons.

Bryan was a member of the 2005 Iowa Summer Rep company, and he has also acted with the Noble Fool Theatre, the Pheasant Run Theatre, the Seaside Music Theatre, the Red Barn Playhouse and Playhouse on the Square.

"Woyzeck," written in 1836 by German activist Georg Buechner, is often considered to be the first "modern" play. It is the story of a lowly soldier forced to work a never-ending series of odd jobs and endure daily humiliations in order to support his child and common-law wife. After learning that Marie may have betrayed him by sleeping with the town braggart, Woyzeck quickly descends into a nightmare of rage and insanity.

Kevin Harris attended NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, where he studied under David Mamet and William H. Macy. From 1999-2002 he was artistic director of Centerpoint Theatre Group in California, where he directed several plays.

Designers for the four plays include Mark Lohman and Cassandra Reardon, scenic design; Mary Weber and David Thayer, lighting design; and Lindsey Robinson and Emma Tremmel, costume design.

Tickets are $8, ($4 students and seniors) at the door beginning one hour before performance time.

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

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