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University of Iowa News Release


Jan. 19, 2010

Hancher presents premiere of Eckert's 'Eye Piece' in UI's Mabie Theatre

Renowned theater artist and University of Iowa graduate Rinde Eckert will take audiences behind the eyes and into the heads and hearts of those surrounded by the shadows of blindness. His new play, "Eye Piece," premieres on Feb. 5 at 8 p.m. in Mabie Theatre in the UI's Theatre Building. The play will be performed six times -- including Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. -- through Feb. 14.

"Eye Piece" invites audience members to imagine their own world going dark, to contemplate the fading sight of a loved one, and to grapple with the responsibility of delivering a diagnosis. With humor and compassion, Eckert's script leads the audience on a journey through darkness toward a different kind of illumination.

Hancher Auditorium commissioned "Eye Piece" after receiving a major grant from the Association of Performing Arts Presenters Creative Campus Innovations Grant Program, a component of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. The Creative Campus program is highly competitive and funds projects that encourage cross-campus collaboration.

The creation of "Eye Piece" has been a significant collaborative effort. Eckert crafted much of the script from interviews collected via a unique partnership with the UI Carver Family Center for Macular Degeneration. The UI Carver College of Medicine Writing Program has also participated in the creative process.

"Eye Piece" features performances from the UI Theatre Arts and Dance departments and the School of Music as well as Eckert himself. The play is presented in collaboration with the UI Theatre Arts Department's Partnership in the Arts and the UI Division of Performing Arts' Creating the Future Initiative. The performance is also supported by the Hancher partners and gifts to Hancher Circle through the UI Foundation.

The public is invited to two free related events that offer insights into the issues explored in the production, as well as into the creative process:

* Monday, Jan. 25, 5:30 p.m. in 1289 Carver Biomedical Research Building, Kelch Conference Room. Panel discussion about the creation of "Eye Piece" with Eckert, Dr. Ed Stone, professor Steve Kuusisto and two cast members.

* Tuesday, Jan. 26, 12-1 p.m. in Braley Auditorium at UI Hospitals and Clinics Pomerantz Family Pavilion. Discussion about the impact of vision loss on family members with Eckert, Dr. Mark Wilkinson, Kuusisto and Robert and Margaret Nady, each of whom has dealt with vision loss.

"Eye Piece" was written and designed for both the sighted and those with vision challenges. Vision-challenged individuals are invited to arrive one hour prior to curtain time for a tour of the stage and set. Contact the Hancher Box Office for more details.

Tickets for the performances are $17; UI students $5; senior citizens $15; youth $5 from the Hancher Box Office.

The Hancher Box Office, now located on the first floor of the south end of the Old Capitol Mall near the parking ramp, is open for phone (319-335-1160 or 800-HANCHER) or walk-up business from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays. Tickets may be ordered online at Any remaining tickets will be available for sale one hour before show time at the UI Theatre Building.

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STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: Rob Cline, Hancher Auditorium, 319-335-3827,; Steve Parrott, University Relations, 319-384-0037,