Festival provides sneak peek at future of theater

Festival provides sneak peek at future of theater

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Iowa New Play Festival begins May 5

The University of Iowa Department of Theatre Arts will present the 2013 Iowa New Play Festival, the most ambitious new-play festival in collegiate theater, with readings and staged productions May 5–11 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. May 5, 6, 8, 9, and 11. Tickets for 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 performance. Tickets also will be on sale from noon to 1:30 p.m., Friday, May 3, and Monday, May 6, at the Theatre Building box office.

The productions:

Sunday, May 5: For the Falls by Emily Dendinger, in David Thayer Theatre. In October 1962, with the shadow of the Cuban missile crisis hanging over the nation, a group of friends, relatives, and strangers gathers to celebrate the life of a brilliant but troubled composer who has been killed under mysterious circumstances in a car accident. Between dusk and dawn, unspoken truths will be revealed within a house built and nestled above a waterfall.

Monday, May 6: half-sick of shadows by Kat Sherman, in Theatre B. Elena lives alone in a tower, trapped under a mysterious curse that forbids her to even look outside (if she does, she will instantly die). Instead, inside, she watches the people outside go by in a mirror. At night she spins their reflections, their shadows into melancholy stories, dark fairy tales, mysterious dreams—created and performed for her audience of dolls. A tea-cup, tea-party cabaret, MTV-unplugged style. The dreams are woven out of poetic text, images, movement, music, light, sound, and multiple forms of puppetry (marionettes, bunraku, finger puppets, rod puppets, shadow puppets, object puppetry, dolls, etc.). But there’s something off about the show tonight. As Elena is drawn to a handsome stranger’s reflection, the dreams change shape, the moods shift, the show is changing.

Wednesday, May 8: You Lost Me by Bonnie Metzgar in David Thayer Theatre. The Shipwreck Coast, Newfoundland, 1824. Seventeen-year-old Ann Harvey saves 160 Irish folks from a wreck, making her an instant hero along this remote and rocky shore. Almost 300 years later, the Harvey family homestead has become the Shipwreck Inn, and present-day proprietress Ann Harvey has just started a new blog for the inn with the support and ridicule of her teenage nephew, Joe-L. A memory house for all those lost at sea, You Lost Me maps the responsibility of the survivors to remember, and to find their way home.

Thursday, May 9: The Aleph Complex by Deborah Yarchun, in Theatre B. To save herself from her chronically obsessive thoughts, Nicky, 18, converts them into sounds so she can fall asleep to the sound of rain. This works until, during a bout of crippling social anxiety at college, a thought about her mother turns into a vicious storm. Nicky outruns the storm all the way home, where she returns to her old job at the Container Store and to her mother, Naomi—who hasn’t left the apartment in five years. While seeking self-help books for her mother at the Last Borders Bookstore on the Planet, Nicky meets Borders Guy, the Last Borders Employee on the Planet, who introduces her to the mysterious Aleph, a Borges-inspired point of overwhelming omniscience he guards in the back of the store. In a chain of “self-help,” Nicky, Naomi, and Borders Guy smash down the walls that enclose their lives.

Saturday, May 11: The Aurora Project by Bella Poynton, in David Thayer Theatre. Somewhere in the darkness, Constantine, an intelligent design, searches for a cure for Nora, his human companion. Infected by an alien race, Nora lies frozen as she and Constantine travel through great spans of time and space.

All daytime readings and workshop productions are free, and the public is invited to attend in the Catalano Acting Studio.

  • Monday, May 6, 2 p.m.: Singularity by Lisa Meyers
  • Tuesday, May 7, 2 p.m.: Tantivy from the Rooftops by Samantha Collier
  • Tuesday, May 7, 5:30 p.m.: The Weasel Under the Cocktail Cabinet by Micah Ariel James
  • Wednesday, May 8, 2 p.m.: Saudades by Ryan Oliveira
  • Thursday, May 9, 2 p.m.: readings from the Undergraduate Playwriting Workshop
  • Friday, May 10, 2 p.m.: Koreans Eat Dog by Sarah Cho
  • Friday, May 10, 5:30 p.m.: Someday by Basil Kreimendahl

Several 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 Department of Theatre Arts is part of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. For accommodations at the production, contact the Department of Theatre Arts at 319-335-2700. For a UI arts calendar and details about upcoming events visit the new Arts Iowa website.


Christopher Clair, University Communication and Marketing, 319-384-0900


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