Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Graduate directors in the University of Iowa Department of Theatre Arts will present their debut directing work over the course of two weekends, Dec. 5-7 and 12-14, in Theatre B of the UI Theatre Building. Admission is $5 (free for UI students with valid UI ID).

The directors’ four shows will take the audience through the Vietnam War to Pablo Picasso’s Vichy, France, through a dark basement in a post-apocalyptic world, and over to a lonely portrait of a San Franciscan playwright.

The first weekend, December 5-7, features the plays Pvt. Wars by James McClure and Desire Caught by the Tail by Pablo Picasso. The performances begin at 8 p.m.; both plays are presented as one complete evening.

Pvt. Wars, directed by Ariel Francoeur, is a dark comedy about three Vietnam War vets recovering in a VA hospital. As the men take turns entertaining, teasing, torturing, and consoling each other, they slowly come to accept that their wounds are more than just physical, and connection with their fellows may be the only way to heal.

Desire Caught by the Tail, directed by Nina Morrison, is Picasso’s raunchy and poetic absurdist portrait of his life in Nazi-occupied Paris. Picasso was discouraged from painting at the time and used playwriting as an outlet for his frustrated creativity.

Francoeur and Morrison both moved from New York City to study at the University of Iowa. Francoeur has worked as a director and actor around the country. Recent directing credits include Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol and The Santaland Diaries at Kentucky Repertory Theater, Danny and the Deep Blue Sea (Off-Broadway) and The Lover with The Seeing Place Theater (NYC), The Suicide of Mark Twain at The Chain Theater (NYC), and Lace Curtain Irish with the Estrogenius Festival (NYC).

Morrison has been writing, directing, and devising work for the past 10 years in New York. In the past three years her devised works Girl Adventure and Arrow In have been presented by Dixon Place Theatre, The HOT! Festival NYC, and included several times in the Little Theatre series. Forest Maiden, written and directed by Morrison, debuted in the 2009 NYC International Fringe Festival.

The second weekend, Dec. 12-14 (again starting at 8 p.m. each night), will feature the directorial work of Marina Johnson and Mario El Caponi Mendoza. Fur is a post-apocalyptic fairy tale involving a unique love triangle between a man, his trapper, and a bearded woman that allows the audience to question the fine line between love, lust, and the possession of others.

The Playwright, created and directed by Mario El Caponi Mendoza, explores a devised physical and cerebral investigation on the portrait of an unnamed San Franciscan playwright during the rise of the tech industry and the state’s education/economic crisis.

Johnson, director of Fur, hails from Pennsylvania, where she taught and directed theatre at Altoona Area High School and was artistic director at Cresson Lake Playhouse. A Penn State graduate, Marina founded the theatre company One Stage Revolution, which was awarded the Most Outstanding Student Organization of the year in 2011. Marina’s favorite non-directing credit is her performance in the opera Carmen in Rome, Italy, in 2009.

El Caponi Mendoza is a California native who earned an MFA in creative writing (playwriting) from San Francisco State University. His areas of focus have primarily been in producing devised theatre, directing, playwriting, creative drama, and community-based theatre. The Playwright marks the first installment of his new devised theatre trilogy, followed next year by his second installment, The Designer.

The productions feature scenery by Kevin Dudley, lights by Lucas Ingram, and costumes by Jae Hee Kim, with the exception of The Playwright, which features costumes by Angie Esposito.

Productions during the first weekend include strong language and smoking. The second week’s productions include strong language, drug/alcohol use, nudity, strobe lights, sexual content, acts of violence, and gunshots.

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

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all UI-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation in order to attend these productions, contact the Department of Theatre Arts in advance at 319-335-2700.

For a UI arts calendar and details about upcoming events visit the Arts Iowa website.