24th Annual Literary Festival
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Playwright Edward Albee heads Literary Festival lineup
September 21, 2001

Edward Albee, three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, will deliver the keynote lecture of Old Dominion's 24th Annual Literary Festival at 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 4, in the North and South Cafeterias of Webb Center.

His talk, "The Playwright vs. The Theater," is also presented as part of the President's Lecture Series and is free and open to the public.

Seating is first-come, first-served.

In addition to winning Pulitzer Prizes for "Three Tall Women," "A Delicate Balance" and "Seascape," Albee has received the New York Drama Critics Circle Award, the Tony Award and the 1996 National Medal of the Arts.

In celebration of Albee's visit, the University Theatre will open its 2001-02 season with a production of two one-act plays, "The Sandbox" and "The Zoo Story," which were among the playwright's first theatrical successes.

"The Sandbox," directed by Gerald Schwarz, is an absurdist comedy that examines American family life in 14 stage minutes, as mommy and daddy carry grandma off to the playground for a wacky meeting with the angel of death.

Widely considered a masterpiece of American drama, "The Zoo Story" rivals "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" as Albee's most celebrated work. Featuring only two characters and a park bench, the 1960 play explores the full complexity of human communication and foreshadows the violence and disconnection haunting society today. It is directed by Christopher Hanna.

Performances will be Sept. 28-30, and Oct. 3 and 5-6 at the Stables Theatre. Show times are 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Sunday and 2 p.m. Wednesday. Ticket prices are $10 general admission, $6 for students, and $7.50 for faculty, staff and senior citizens.

In a recent interview with Joe Cuomo of the Queens College Evening Readings, Albee explained his philosophy on writing. "As a writer, you respond to everything around you. You respond to every visual image, every bit of conversation, every piece of music. You respond to it all. It all goes in the sieve of the brain."

The theme of the Literary Festival, "Magic, Vision and Transformation," unites more than 20 dramatists, poets, nonfiction writers, novelists, artists, newly emerging student writers and Pulitzer Prize winners during the week of Oct. 1-5.

"Each writer participating in the week's events is a kind of magician, using words to expose the mystery of all that seems ordinary in life," said Sheri Reynolds, festival director. "Their words teach us to see beyond the obvious, and their words change us by helping us imagine new ways of seeing.

"Like pulling a rabbit from the top-hat, each writer creates meaning out of what seems like air. Through words, we see beyond the illusions of our lives, and for a moment, we can become and experience more than what we are."

All readings are free and open to the public. For a complete schedule of presentations and biographical information on each of the presenters, visit the festival Web site at www.lib.odu.edu/litfest.

Featured presentations include:

-Oct. 1 - Graduates of Old Dominion's M.F.A. program; 4 p.m., Hampton/Newport News Room, Webb Center;

-Oct. 1 - Old Dominion President Roseann Runte, in her first campus reading of her latest, unpublished poetry, as well as a selection of her published work; 8 p.m. Chandler Recital Hall, Diehn Center;

-Oct. 2 - Holly Hughes, a controversial performance artist and playwright; 8 p.m., Chandler Recital Hall, Diehn Center;

-Oct. 3 - Margorie Agosin, a Latin American poet recently honored with a United Nations Leadership Award for Human Rights; 8 p.m., Mills Godwin Jr. Life Sciences Bldg. Auditorium;

-Oct. 4 - Readings by faculty and staff members Matilda Cox, Julie Crichton, Eugene McAvoy, Renee Olander and Amy Tudor; 2 p.m., Hampton/Newport News Room, Webb Center;

-Oct. 5 - Greg Bottoms, author of the memoir "Angelhead," which was named one of the best five works of nonfiction of 2000 by Esquire magazine; 2 p.m., Chandler Hall, Diehn Center; and

-Oct. 5 - Dorothy Allison, author of "Bastard Out of Carolina," a finalist for the 1992 National Book Award, which was made into a highly acclaimed film directed by Angelica Huston; 8 p.m., Chandler Recital Hall, Diehn Center.

The work of installation artist Roberley Bell (see page 7) is featured at the University Gallery in conjunction with the festival.

For more information about Albee's lecture, call 683-3114. For additional information on theatre performances or for reservations, call the box office at 683-5305. For Literary Festival information call 683-3991, and for the University Gallery, 683-2355.