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University of Iowa News Release


Feb. 8, 2008

University Theatres Gallery series presents 'This is Your Life' Feb. 21-24

The University Theatres Gallery series will present "This is Your Life" by Iowa Playwrights Workshop student Greg Machlin at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, Feb. 21-23, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 24, in Theatre B of the University of Iowa Theatre Building.

"This is Your Life," directed by Joe Luis Cedillo, is a new play about Garrett, a young writer going through a "quarterlife crisis" who tries to figure out why his own relationships have failed where his parents have succeeded.

With the help of his more grounded sister, Abigail, Garrett conjures up the world of his parents -- Berkeley of the turbulent 1960s -- and watches as Tony (a writer), Patrick (a conductor), Natalie (an English grad student), and Jenny (a musician) try to make their way and forge relationships as the hip '60s become the troubled '70s. Of particular importance are the events of Kent State in May 1970, which has a significant effect on the characters in the story.

Machlin expect the show to appeal to all generations: "It's not every day you see both baby boomers and their kids onstage, and some of the parallels between the challenges we face and they face are interesting. It's a very timely piece. I also think that this play is sympathetic to the political causes of the '60s. 'This Is Your Life' gives you a sense of who these people are, and why they're doing what they're doing."

"What attracted me to Greg's play is it takes on the notion of the grass being greener on the other side -- and wanting to actually go see it," says Cedillo. "It is about love, choices and consequences, and how our historical moment plays into that. I'm excited by how theatrically adventurous the play is, the drama informs the comedy and vice versa."

The Friday audience is invited to come costumed in their favorite throwback '60s or early '70's outfits. All participating hippies, groovy groovers and counter-culture heroes will have their photos taken and projected on stage following the evening's performance as they rock out to a mash-up of evocative era favorites compiled by the "This is Your Life" production team. Images will also be posted on the show's Facebook page; to view, go to, click "Events" in the left-hand column and search for "This is Your Life."

The public is invited to interact with the cast and members of the creative team for a "talkback" following the Saturday performance.

The design team includes lighting designer Eli Wilkinson, costume designer Erin Duffy, and sound designer Alex Ruhlin, who recently designed sound for the Mainstage production of "Anton in Show Business."

Machlin was a Heideman Award finalist at the Actors' Theatre of Louisville this year, won the 2006 IRAM (a UI new-play award), and is set to have his work published by Smith & Kraus.

Cedillo is making his UI directorial debut with "This is Your Life." He has directed in Los Angeles and Houston. He served as production dramaturge and literary manager for the Alley Theatre in Houston and is the associate director for Texas State University's Black and Latino Playwright's Conference.

The Gallery series presents primarily plays written and directed by students in the UI Department of Theatre Arts. The Department of Theatre Arts is part of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Tickets are $6 for nonstudents and $4 for UI students, seniors and youth, at the door.

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 CONTACT: Winston Barclay, 319-384-0073; cell: 310-430-1013;