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Moscow Art Theatre & University of Iowa Link up for Book Wings

[Click to Enlarge] Herman Sadulaev's play A THREE WAY DREAM will premiere, in English translation, on the Univ of Iowa stage.
[Click to Enlarge] Herman Sadulaev's play A THREE WAY DREAM will premiere, in English translation, on the Univ of Iowa stage.
Tomorrow, Thursday, March 13, 2014 at 11am CT (8pm Moscow time) the University of Iowa will link up with the Moscow Art Theatre to present the third annual performance of Book Wings, a collaborative theatre initiative that uses the latest new media technologies to bring together actors, writers, directors, translators, and stage spaces 5,000 miles apart to produce one unified theatre experience.

[Click to Enlarge] Michelle Carter will travel to Iowa City to see her play, LUNCH, premiere at the Moscow Art Theatre.
[Click to Enlarge] Michelle Carter will travel to Iowa City to see her play, LUNCH, premiere at the Moscow Art Theatre.
The works commissioned for Book Wings 2014 on the central theme of “Contact” touch on issues from gay marriage to climate change to torture in the War on Terror.

The bilingual performance is free and open to the public, and will be viewable worldwide via live Internet stream at: http://www.writinguniversity.org/page/book-wings-live-streaming 

Robin Romm's play 7 MINUTES IN HEAVEN, about two strangers locked in a closet, will appear on the University of Iowa stage.
Robin Romm's play 7 MINUTES IN HEAVEN, about two strangers locked in a closet, will appear on the University of Iowa stage.

Audience members in Iowa City, Moscow, and online are invited to Tweet comments and questions for the live talk-back following the performance using the hashtag #bookw.

Moscow Art Theatre School Director Anatoly Smeliansky and University of Iowa International Writing Program Director Christopher Merrill came up with the idea for Book Wings during a working group meeting as part of the Bilateral Presidential Commission to reset relations between Russia and the U.S. in Moscow in December 2010. “Over the last twenty years we’ve trained a thousand American students in the Stanislavsky Method, and now I can talk to my daughter every night in Cambridge, MA on Skype. Can’t we find some way to meet in the virtual world?” asked Smeliansky.

[Click to Enlarge] Q&A with directors and playwrights in the U.S. (on stage) and in Baghdad (on screen) for Book Wings Iraq 2014
[Click to Enlarge] Q&A with directors and playwrights in the U.S. (on stage) and in Baghdad (on screen) for Book Wings Iraq 2014

The 3-year Book Wings initiative designed in response has commissioned short works from poets (2012), playwrights (2013), and prose writers (2014) on the common theme of “contact,” and performed them on digitally-connected stages in Iowa City and Moscow, fostering cross-cultural conversation and sparking new dramatic ideas. The pioneering 2012 performance was so successful that Book Wings was expanded to include China (in 2013) and Iraq (in 2014), with plans to establish a collaboration in South Africa in 2015.

In WE, THE PEOPLES by Ksenia Dragunskaya a climate refugee causes a stir in a remote Russian village.
In WE, THE PEOPLES by Ksenia Dragunskaya a climate refugee causes a stir in a remote Russian village.
Book Wings

2014 will feature works commissioned from PEN USA Literary Award in Drama winner Michelle Carter, Whiting Award winner Anthony Marra whose novel A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, set in Chechnya, was longlisted for the National Book Award, and novelist Robin Romm, whose memoir The Mercy Papers was a San Francisco Chronicle best book of the year. On the Russian side the contributors include playwright and prose writer Ksenia Dragunskaya, cardiologist, publisher and writer Maksim Osipov, winner of the Yuri Kazakov Prize, and best-selling Chechen author Herman Sadulaev, twice short-listed for the Russian Booker.

Anthony Marra's humorous play ASSEMBLING A FLUGINFLABINLUG AT A MILITARY BLACK SITE touches on torture in the War on Terror.
Anthony Marra's humorous play ASSEMBLING A FLUGINFLABINLUG AT A MILITARY BLACK SITE touches on torture in the War on Terror.

Michelle Carter, whose play, LUNCH, is a parable about the resistance to homosexual marriage, will travel from San Francisco to Iowa City to watch it premiere on the Moscow Art Theatre stage in Russian (translated by University of Iowa professor of Russian, Anna Barker).

Full bios and summaries of the commissioned works: http://iwp.uiowa.edu/programs/book-wings/2014Russia  

REVOLUTIONARY PORCELAIN by Maksim Osipov debuts in Moscow.
REVOLUTIONARY PORCELAIN by Maksim Osipov debuts in Moscow. "The title, to a Russian ear, is funny," says translator Anna Barker.

Long term, Book Wings aims to provide a model for leveraging new media technologies to increase artistic collaboration internationally. Watch parties will take place at Schkapf in Los Angeles, McGill University (Canada), Amherst College, University of Michigan, Kirkwood Community College, Davidson College, Temple University, at the American Corner at the Mayakovsky Central City Public Library in Saint Petersburg (Russia) and in many other locations, ensuring a lively discussion in the question and answer session following the performance.

Book Wings is made possible by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at U.S. Department of State, the Moscow Art Theatre School, and the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program, Department of Theatre Arts, the Virtual Writing University, Information Technology Services, and UITV.

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