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University of Iowa News Release


April 23, 2010

Iowa New Play Festival May 3-8 provides an avalanche of new theater

The University of Iowa Department of Theatre Arts will present the Iowa New Play Festival, the most ambitious new-play festival in collegiate theater, with readings and staged productions May 3-8 in the UI Theatre Building.

The full productions of new scripts from the Iowa Playwrights Workshop will be presented at 5:30 and 9 p.m. each day except Thursday.

--Monday, May 3: "Las Hermanas Padilla" by Tony Meneses, directed by faculty member John Cameron and Jackie Alamillo in E.C. Mabie Theatre. "Las Hermanas Padilla" follows the lives of 10 women, all married into the same family of brothers -— 10 brothers who have been sent to fight an endless war on foreign shores. Left behind, the sisters must rely on each other to survive the never-ending whispers of loss and violence.

--Tuesday, May 4: "Gilgamesh’s Game" by Jen Silverman, directed by faculty member Carol MacVey in Theatre B, in which Isolated groups of people worldwide engage in a deadly game where they face their most dangerous fears.

--Wednesday, May 5: "One Plum," written and directed by Lisa Leaverton in the David Thayer Theatre. A poetic meditation on ecology, "One Plum" explores the garden of eden myth anew. A comedy of human relations within the natural world, this ensemble work centers around a plum ripening, and the humans, insects and animals awaiting it. "One Plum" is the winner of the UI Center for Human Rights Graduate Playwrights Award.

Friday, May 7: "Columpio" by Joe Luis Cedillo, directed by graduate student Sarah Ballema in Theatre B. "Columpio" is Spanish for "swing." The play asks, what sacrifices do we make for Love? This is a family story that centers on a struggling-to-be-middle class Latino family, all taking place in a kitchen.

--Saturday, May 8: "Achilles, Scourge of Man" by Kevin Artigue, directed by graduate student Anthony Nelson in the David Thayer Theatre. This is a punk-inspired, multimedia re-envisioning of Homer's epic text that cuts to the bloody root of glory and revenge.

Tickets for all the evening productions -- $5 for the general public and free for UI students with a valid UI ID -- will be on sale one hour before each of the performances. Tickets will also be on sale noon to 1:30 p.m. Monday through Friday of the festival at the Theatre Building box office.

Thursday evening there will be a free workshop production of "Blood Lines" by Tali Ariav at 7:30 p.m. in the Catalano Acting Studio.

All the daytime readings and workshop productions are free, and the public is invited to attend. The readings will take place at 2 p.m. in the Cosmo Catalano Acting Studio, Room 172, of the Theatre Building.

--Monday: "Child's Pose" by Louisa Hill.
--Tuesday: "Norm" by Sheela Kangal.
--Wednesday: "Hard and Fast: A Love Story" by Jess Foster.
--Thursday: "Lightning Birth" by Andrew Saito.
--Friday: Selections from the Undergraduate Playwriting Workshop.
--Saturday: "Tro Musikk" by Janet Schlapkohl.

Events in the New Play Festival may include material of an adult nature. Potential audience members who wish to decide if it is appropriate for them should contact the department at 319-335-2700 for additional information.

The New Play Festival requires the deployment of all the Department of Theatre Arts' resources -- acting, directing, dramaturgy, design, stage management and technical abilities -- to orchestrate an intense and event-packed festival that offers student playwrights the productions and feedback that are essential for their development. At the same time, the festival offers audiences an opportunity to participate in the creation of significant new American theater at the ground level.

Professional guest responders at the 2010 Iowa New Play Festival will be freelance dramaturg, director and teacher Megan Monoghan; Beth Blickers, an agent at Abrams Artists Agency; playwright Mead Hunter, editor-in-chief of SuperScript Editorial Services; and Dominic Taylor, association artistic director of the Penumbra Theatre Company.

The Iowa Playwrights Workshop -— The University of Iowa's MFA Program in Playwriting -— is an intensive three-year program dedicated to educating playwrights for the professional theatre. The objective of the program is to train talented playwrights and collaborative theatre artists who will lead the American theatre in the creation of new works and the training of future generations of playwrights.

The Iowa New Play Festival began in the 1960s as Critics Week and developed into the more public Iowa Playwrights Festival. The festival's name was changed to the Iowa New Play Festival to stress that the production of new plays was of educational value not only to the playwrights but to all students in the department.

Over the years, the festival has produced scripts by numerous young playwrights who have gone on to distinguished careers in theater, and many of the plays developed through the Iowa Playwrights Workshop and presented in the festival have gone on to successful professional productions, have been honored with theatrical awards or have been invited to theater festivals.

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

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

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