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“Chekhov Lidzardbrain” Coming to IUP

Chekhov Lizardbrain The Lively Arts at Indiana University of Pennsylvania will present world-traveled Pig Iron Theatre Company in its award-winning production of Chekhov Lidzardbrain for two performances as part of the Lively Arts’ ongoing Performance Plus season. Held on the Waller Hall Mainstage of the IUP Performing Arts Center, the show will be presented Wednesday and Thursday, November 10 and 11, 2010, at 8:00 p.m.

Founded in 1995 as an interdisciplinary ensemble, Pig Iron Theatre Company is dedicated to the creation of new and exuberant performance works that defy easy categorization. In the past fourteen years, the company has created twenty-four original works and has toured to festivals and theaters in England, Scotland, Poland, Lithuania, Brazil, Ireland, Italy, Romania, and Germany, as well as across the U.S.

Pig Iron is composed of three artistic directors and four company members in addition to a production and administrative staff and board of directors. Many of their works, including one they are working on during extended residencies at IUP this year, are often developed in residency at other theaters and universities. The company made Philadelphia its permanent home in 1997.

Chekhov Lizardbrain is a loose and provocative comedy about the thought process of a mildly autistic mind. The performance captures his character as he zigzags over troubling memories in an attempt to piece the stream of events together.

Chekhov Lizardbrain Directed by Dan Rothenberg and created in collaboration with the ensemble, Chekhov Lizardbrain received a highly prestigious Obie Award for its New York Off-Broadway run in 2008. The New York Times named it one of the top ten theater events of the 2008 season, and stated that the show is “Peculiar, hypnotic, and unexpectedly moving. . . A wonderful production that glimmers with a quirky fascination.” (The full review is available through a link on the Performance Plus webpage.)

The theme of the story is brewed both from Anton Chekhov’s writings and Paul Maclean’s controversial “Triune [three] Brain” theory, originally formulated in the 1960s. MacLean has proposed that our skull holds not one brain, but three, each representing a distinct evolutionary stratum, including the reptilian brain. He further postulates that the three brains are connected by nerves, but that each seems to operate as its own brain system with distinct capacities, allowing the ability to highlight one’s own memory and subjectivity.

The play is further described as a “parade of unsettling and comic recollections that spins a web of memory and vaudeville.” It also contains situations and language to which some audience members may object and which may not be appropriate for children.

Chekhov Lizardbrain Tickets for the Chekhov Lizardbrain are available now at the Hadley Union Building Ticket Office on the IUP campus, or online at IUP Tickets.com. Remaining tickets can be purchased at the door beginning one hour prior to the start of the performance. Seating is limited.

Tickets are $10 for students and I-Card holders, $14 for seniors (62 and older) and for groups of fifteen or more, and $16 for regular admission. For more information, call the Lively Arts at 724-357-2547, or e-mail lively-arts@iup.edu.

Performance Plus is presented by the College of Fine Arts and is funded, in part, by the IUP Student Cooperative Association, African American Cultural Center, Office of International Education, and Liberal Studies Program. Performance Plus is additionally supported by a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts provided through the Pennsylvania Rural Arts Alliance.

This project is also made possible through a New Directions grant from Pennsylvania Performing Arts on Tour, a program developed and funded by the Heinz Endowments; the William Penn Foundation; the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency; and the Pew Charitable Trusts; and administered by the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation.

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