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UI Theater presents story of failed relationships and recovery

BY SAMANTHA GENTRY | FEBRUARY 03, 2011 7:10 AM

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For Elle, an imprisoned life as a failed violinist turned teacher is not easy while in a rut of a relationship. So, the only way out is to smash her husband’s head with the toaster, thus making him toast.

The Theater Department will take audiences on the journey of Elle’s recovery in the play Salvage, a University Theatres Gallery Production, at 8 p.m. today in the Theatre Building’s Theatre B.

Performances will continue through Saturday at 8 p.m. and at 2 p.m. Feb. 6. Admission is $5, free for UI students with valid IDs.

Directed by Kevin Artigue, a third-year graduate student in the Iowa Playwrights’ Workshop, Salvage is a new play for the UI theater community because Artigue wrote it.

This is the first play he has directed at the UI; he has written six full-length plays while at the university. Salvage is his third play produced on stage.

“This is a very personal story in which I’ve found inspiration from my own life and my own difficulties in expressing my feelings accurately through language to those closest to me,” Artigue said.

Four cast members tell the story of recovery, Artigue said.

Maggie Blake, a junior at the UI, plays the character of Elle. Even though she may not be married or a violinist, she feels she can relate to her character.

“I can see how it’s easy to have high hopes for yourself and then realize that you’ve become something you didn’t want to become,” she said.

Because Artigue is both writer and director of Salvage, it’s helpful to have an extra set of eyes during rehearsals. That’s where the dramaturge comes in, who acts as a second opinion when new plays are in the process of revising the script and the actions.

Jenni Page-White, a first -year graduate student who is the dramaturge for Salvage, says she asks Artigue to prove his choices as she tries to change the story into a dialogue rather than a monologue.

“If there is anything that doesn’t seem quite right, it’s my own way to see it before the audience does,” she said.

Salvage incorporates dancing and movement, making Page-White’s role crucial.

“It’s really important to make sure all the elements agree with each other and to have a specific idea of what you’re trying to say,” she said.

Artigue is thrilled to see his play come together on stage, but to him, a play is never finished; it’s always a bit imperfect.

“I feel extremely confident with my cast,” he said. “I have a wonderfully talented group of actors and designers committed to bringing this play to full life.”


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