July 7, 2008
'Fuddy Meers' completes indestructible Iowa Summer Rep production schedule
David Lindsay-Abaire's outrageous dark comedy "Fuddy Meers" will complete the indestructible, flood-displaced run of Iowa Summer Rep 2008, opening at 8 p.m. Thursday, July 17 in the auditorium of Iowa City West High School, far from the Iowa River at 2901 Melrose Ave. in Iowa City. Additional performances will be at 8 p.m. July 18, 19, 23, 24, 25 and 26.
Treats from the Bread Garden will be available before each performance and at intermission.
"Fuddy Meers" is the story of Claire, an amnesiac woman who each day wakes up into an unfamiliar world where she does not even know her own name. Every day she is faced with starting from scratch the task of piecing together the puzzle of her life.
Today she's about to find a few missing pieces: A lisping, ski-masked man appears out of nowhere and kidnaps her to the house of her mother, a stroke victim with a speech impediment who desperately tries to protect her from her true past. But in this distorted world, nothing is what it seems.
A hodgepodge of astoundingly bizarre characters collide and ricochet through this hilarious "Alice in Wonderland" journey, taking the audience on a rollicking ride into ever-increasing mayhem.
"This is a play about searching for the truth, and the road to this truth is bizarre, funny, dangerous, and touching," says director Sean Paul Bryan, who is both an alumnus of the University of Iowa Department of Theatre Arts and an acting veteran of Iowa Summer Rep. "David Lindsay Abaire has created a fascinating world where one feels anything is possible.
"It's often hailed as just a dark comedy, but I feel that there is also a wonderful heart to this piece. As we search for clarity throughout our entire lives, Claire has that search condensed into one day. This is due to her rare case of psychogenic amnesia that causes her to forget everything that has happened in her past after one night of sleeping. She is thrust into the present and forced to deal with her past in the immediate moment. It is thrilling, twisted fun!"
Lindsay-Abaire won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for "Rabbit Hole," which originally starred Cynthia Nixon, Tyne Daly and John Slattery in New York, and is one of the other productions in Iowa Summer Rep 2008.
But "Fuddy Meers," which premiered in 1999, was one of the plays that but Lindsay-Abaire on the map, and a movie version is now in production. Writing in the New York Observer, John Heilpern called him a comic genius.
Critics have called the play "one of the funniest shows I've ever seen," "bubbly fun" and "a giant step towards dispelling current pessimism about the state of the theater."
Lindsay-Abaire has said, "My plays tend to be peopled with outsiders in search of clarity. I get my sense of structure from my dad and my sense of humor from my mother. She has a mouth like a trucker." (Yes, there is lots of that sort of language in "Fuddy Meers.") He says he enjoys "Walking the fine line between grave reality and joyous lunacy."
He cites an unlikely combination of influences that ranges from Edward Albee to the Marx Brothers and Abbott and Costello, and critic John Simon invented the term "Abairant" to describe a style that melds dark drama and loony comedy.
Lindsay-Abaire has writing credits on the screenplays for "Robots" and "Inkheart," and the scripts for the stage musicals of "High Fidelity" and "Shrek." Movies of his "Rabbit Hole" and "Kimberly Akimbo" are in the works.
A full schedule of Iowa Summer Rep performances is available at http://www.uiowa.edu/artsiowa, which also includes links to information on the individual plays. Information is also available on the Department of Theatre Arts Web site http://www.uiowa.edu/~theatre/season/summer-rep.htm.
Iowa Summer Rep is an U/RTA (University/Resident Theatre Association) company employing Equity actors and stage managers, as well as students who earn points toward their Actors Equity card.
The University of Iowa Community Credit Union and the UI Summer Session support Iowa Summer Rep 2008.
The Department of Theatre Arts is part of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
Tickets for each show are $24; senior citizen $20; UI student and youth $12. Both individual performance and advance ticket sales will be available at the door one hour before each performance. Advance tickets are available by phone at 319-335-1160 or 1-800-HANCHER, or by visiting the Hancher box office's temporary location in Suite 107, South Lindquist Center. A website is in operation for 24-hour online sales: http://hancher.tardiscomm.com/.
Free tickets are available to every member of households driven from their homes by the flood of 2008. The free tickets are not available online.
For UI arts information and calendar updates, visit http://www.uiowa.edu/artsiowa. To receive UI arts news by e-mail, go to http://list.uiowa.edu/archives/acr-news.html, 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; firstname.lastname@example.org
PHOTOS are available at www.flickr.com/photos/artsiowa