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University of Iowa News Release


Sept. 28, 2007

'A Perfect Wedding' opens the 2007-08 University Theatres Mainstage season

The 2007-08 University Theatres Mainstage season will open the Charles L. Mee multicultural comic romp "A Perfect Wedding" at 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 11, in E.C. Mabie Theatre of the University of Iowa Theatre Building. Other performances will be at 8 p.m. Oct. 12, 13 and 17-20, and at 2 p.m. Sundays, Oct. 14 and 21.

"A Perfect Wedding" has been called "a life-affirming extravaganza," "a riotous fantasia of music, dance (and) physical comedy," and "outrageously fanciful, and smart." And in the UI production directed by Department of Theatre Arts faculty member Carol MacVey, it will be a technical wonder as well.

Loosely based on Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream," Mee's play takes off when a groom on the brink of his wedding flees into a forest, with the bride and the entire wedding party in pursuit.

Out in the mysterious wilds, the nature of love, marriage and other rituals of passage -- even death -- are explored, discussed and turned on their heads before the play concludes joyfully with not one wedding, but three.

"Imagine you were given a script by a playwright and then, with his blessing, told you could do whatever you'd like with it," MacVey says. "That's been the gift of working on a Chuck Mee play, which is actually more of a collage than a traditional script.

"The play is a comedy that embraces a wide variety of subjects, mainly love and death and throughout there is humor, hope and joy. How can a play be anything else but joyful when there's mud wrestling, a Bollywood number, lovers romping through the woods a la 'Midsummer Night's Dream,' a filmed underwater sequence, singing, dancing, rapping and video projections -- 40 feet high by 32 feet wide-- throughout?

"It's a play that will appeal to any adult who's ever been in love, been in a relationship or wondered about the human condition. Chuck Mee says, 'The motivation to write a play should be life and death. If you're not writing it for those stakes, you're just a dilettante.'"

Mee, who is an historian as well as a playwright, is the author of plays including "Full Circle," "The Trojan Women: A Love Story," "Snow in June," "Big Love, True Love" and "Orestes 2.0." He also wrote the memoir "A Nearly Normal Life," about his affliction with polio as a teenager. He is the recipient of the lifetime achievement award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

He has written about his plays, "I write out of the belief that we are creatures of our history and culture and gender and politics -- that our beings and actions arise from that complex of influences and forces and motivations, that our lives are more rich and complex than can be reduced to a single source of human motivation.

"So I try in my work to get past traditional forms of psychological realism, to bring into the frame of the plays material from history, philosophy, insanity, inattention, distractedness, judicial theory, sudden violent passion, lyricism, the National Enquirer, nostalgia, longing, aspiration, literary criticism, anguish, confusion, inability.

"I like plays that are not too neat, too finished, too presentable. My plays are broken, jagged, filled with sharp edges, filled with things that take sudden turns, careen into each other, smash up, veer off in sickening turns. That feels good to me. It feels like my life. It feels like the world."

Artistic contributors to the University Theatres Mainstage production of "A Perfect Wedding" include video designer William Barbour, set design Leiko Fuseya, costume design William Moser and lighting Design Courtney Schmitz.

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

Tickets for "A Perfect Wedding" are $17; UI student and youth $8; senior citizen $12. Tickets are available in advance from the Hancher Auditorium box office. Any remaining tickets for each performance will be available one hour before curtain time at the Theatre Building box office.

Tickets may also be purchased as part of a Division of Performance Arts subscription package. The events are detailed in a Division of Performing Arts brochure that has been sent to area music, theater and dance patrons. Copies of the brochure, which includes complete ticket information and an order form, are available at the Hancher Auditorium Box Office, in the UI Theatre Building and from the division's marketing office at 319-335-3213,

Hancher Auditorium box office business hours are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays. From the local calling area, dial 319-335-1160. Long distance is toll-free, 1-800-HANCHER. People with special needs for access, seating and auxiliary services should dial 319-335-1158, which is equipped with TDD for people with hearing impairment who use that technology.

Tickets may be ordered on-line 24 hours a day, seven days a week through Hancher's website:

Orders may be charged to VISA, MasterCard or American Express. UI students may charge their purchases to their university bills, and UI faculty and staff may select the option of payroll deduction. Information and brochures may be requested by e-mail at

For UI arts information and calendar updates, visit To receive UI arts news by e-mail, go to, click the link "Join or leave the list (or change settings)" and follow the instructions.

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

MEDIA CONTACTS: Winston Barclay, 319-384-0073 (office), 319-430-1013 (cell),