Coe College announces 2008-2009 theatre season

Extra: Rod Pritchard, Director of Marketing and Public Relations
(319) 399-8605 or

2008-08-08 08:48:01 - General

The Coe College Department of Theatre Arts has announced its 2008-2009 season of main stage productions, staged by faculty members and featuring all-student casts. This season's offerings range from a pair of one-act plays about race relations in the U.S., to an ancient Greek tragedy about family betrayal and the thirst for revenge, to a contemporary British comedy focused on the unpredictable interrelationship between the past and the present.

Coe theatre patrons can purchase season tickets from now through Sept. 1 to all events for $20 for the general public, $15 for students and seniors. Individual tickets will go on sale three weeks before the opening of each respective production. Prices for individual performances are $10 for adults and $8 for students and seniors. For ticket information, call the Coe College Box Office at 319-399-8600, Monday - Friday, between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. (summer hours).

All productions are being presented in the Dows Theatre. Performances begin at 8 p.m., except for Sunday performances, which start at 2 p.m. Popular talkbacks with the directors and casts will be offered following Thursday and Sunday performances.

This year's productions include:

"A Dream Deferred, A Race Derailed," two plays about race relations in the U.S. - Sept. 26, 27, 28 and Oct. 2, 3 and 4. "Florence" by Alice Childress and "Dutchman" by Amiri Baraka, both staged by guest director Tisch Jones, associate professor of theatre at the University of Iowa.

A trip by train can be derailed by many things: a break in the track, schedules delayed or missed, or the threat of a suicide bombing. But it is a deep-rooted American phenomenon, called racism, that has derailed the two train journeys "Florence" and "Dutchman," set respectively in the 1950s and 1970s. As we move toward the general election of 2008, these plays remind us of the ways in which racism still may be derailing our interior journeys within the U.S.

"Dutchman" premiered in 1964 and subsequently won an Obie Award for best off-Broadway play.

"Electra" - Nov. 14, 15, 16, 20, 21 and 22, by Sophocles, adaptation by Frank McGuinness, directed by Steven Marc Weiss, Coe College associate professor of theatre arts.

A story as old as time and as shocking as today's headlines, Sophocles' "Electra" is a larger-than-life tragedy of family betrayal, cold-blooded murder, civil war, and political intrigue. In Frank McGuinness' terse, tense and vibrant English adaptation, this ancient Greek revenge play exposes the pain of emotional loss and crippling, obsessive sorrow.

For its 1998 New York production, this version of "Electra," starring Zoƫ Wanamaker, earned three Tony Award nominations (including one for Best Revival of a Play).

"Arcadia" - April 17, 18, 19, 23, 24 and 25, by Tom Stoppard, directed by Dennis Barnett, Coe College associate professor of theatre arts.

A central theme of this erudite, witty comedy is the interrelationship between the past and present, and the unpredictability of either. The play explores both the passage and juxtaposition of time - from the Age of Enlightenment to the Romantic Era, from Newtonian determinism to chaos theory, from 18th century neoclassical landscape architecture to the picturesque wildness of 19th century English gardens - all within the context of a contemporary detective story about sexual and academic philandering.

In London, the play garnered the prestigious Olivier Award for best play (comparable to Broadway's "Tony"), while in the U.S., "Arcadia" received the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play of the 1994-95 season.

For more information, call 399-8600 or visit