A series of events examining the black experience at the University of Iowa—”Iowa and Invisible Man: Making Blackness Visible”—will culminate in the first-ever staged reading of a theatrical version of Ralph Ellison’s seminal and best-selling novel.
The reading, set for 7 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 3, in Shambaugh Auditorium in UI Main Library, is free and open to the public.
Saturday’s event will provide a unique opportunity to get a glimpse of the new and first stage production of Invisible Man, set to open in Chicago in early 2012. The largely local cast will engage with Oren Jacoby’s script, adapted from the Ellison novel.
The project includes a weeklong residency at the UI by Jacoby and producer/director Christopher McElroen.
Other upcoming events related to the project include:
Thursday, Dec. 1, 3 p.m., Iowa Memorial Union, Illinois Room (Room 348): “For My People: Elizabeth Catlett at Iowa and Beyond.”
Hill helps bring Invisible Man project to life: fyi.uiowa.edu/11/28/hill-invisible-man
For more on how “Iowa and Invisible Man” came to fruition, see the story on the Hancher website: www.hancher.uiowa
UI Museum of Art chief curator Kathleen Edwards will discuss the work of UI alumna Elizabeth Catlett (MFA ’40), including her sculpture Invisible Man: A Memorial to Ralph Ellison, 2003. Edwards visited with Catlett in Mexico in 2006. Subsequently, the UIMA purchased 26 of Catlett’s prints. After the lecture, the audience may view prints by Catlett in the UIMA@IMU Visual Classroom.
Thursday, Dec. 1, 7 p.m., Shambaugh Auditorium, UI Main Library: “Now You See It, Now You Don’t: A Civic Reflection Discussion.”
Georgina Dodge, UI chief diversity officer and associate vice president, will facilitate a discussion focusing on issues of perception and difference. How do we see people who are different from us? How do they see us? What defines difference? Who determines that definition? Using a shared text as discussion catalyst, participants will be encouraged to consider the central issues from both societal and personal perspectives.
Friday, Dec. 2, 5-7 p.m., Senate Chamber, Old Capitol Museum: WorldCanvass.
“Iowa and Invisible Man: Making Blackness Visible” will be the focus of the live WorldCanvass radio and television program, hosted by Joan Kjaer and produced by UI International Programs. Kjaer’s guests will reflect on Ellison’s life and work, including his place among other African-American writers of his era; the benefits of integrating performance into the classroom as a teaching tool; and the history of African-Americans at the UI and in Iowa.
More than a dozen UI offices and organizations have come together to sponsor “Iowa and Invisible Man.” They are Hancher, the Office of the Provost, UI Libraries, the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies, the Chief Diversity Office, Iowa House Hotel, the Departments of African American Studies, American Studies, English, and History; the Center for Teaching, African American Council, and Humanities Iowa, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities headquartered in Iowa City. UI International Programs, the UI Museum of Art, and the African American Museum of Iowa, Cedar Rapids, have also provided support.