Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Blackbird Opens April 5

Iowa City - "This Spring, Riverside Theatre produces the award-winning play BLACKBIRD by David Harrower, directed by Meg Eginton. Una, now 27 years old, confronts Ray 15 years after their relationship. Ray is out of prison with a new name and a new life and Una is now a grown woman, but both are still emotionally scarred from their experience. Can Una heal from what she experienced as a 12-year-old girl? Can Ray truly move on with his life after what he has done? Shows run Friday, April 5 through Sunday, April 21, 2013 at Riverside Theatre, 213 N. Gilbert Street, Iowa City, Iowa. Tickets available online at or by calling the Riverside Theatre Box Office, 319-338-7672. This play contains adult subject matter.


Ray never expected to see Una again and they both share initial shock upon meeting 15 years after their forbidden relationship.

Una, who met Ray as a 12-year old-girl, has now grown into a strong 27-year-old woman and is ready to confront the sexual relationship that she experienced with him, her then 40-year-old neighbor.

Ray served his prison time and started a new life, changing his name to Peter and now working in a new town and different profession. Una sees his photograph in a trade magazine and recognizes him instantly. She gathers her courage and drives several hours to his work place, prepared to confront this ghost from her past.

David Harrower based this play loosely around the crimes of Toby Studebaker, a former U.S. Marine who met and pursued a relationship with a 12-year-old girl on the internet. Studebaker picked up the girl from her English home and they traveled through Europe for five days before they were found and he was arrested.

Jody Hovland, artistic director, talks about choosing this play for Riverside Theatre’s 2012-2013 bold-themed season, 'BLACKBIRD has been on our radar for several years. It’s bold both thematically and theatrically – a play whose character and plot pivots keep you on the edge of your seat. BLACKBIRD is frank, compassionate and challenging all at once – which seems like a great fit for Riverside audiences.'

Director Meg Eginton delves deep into the play reminding us that it is about the complicated relationship between Una and Ray- 'Wounds have not closed. Wrongs cannot be righted. Still, can they heal?'

The lighting design (Courtney Schmitz Watson), set (Doug Anderson), costumes (Osean Perez) and musical score (Drew Bielinski and Meg Eginton) further enhance the drama of the play.


Accomplished Scottish playwright David Harrower premiered BLACKBIRD at the Edinburgh International Festival in 2005. In 2006, BLACKBIRD won the Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland for Best New Play and in 2007 the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Play. The show has been produced internationally from Singapore to Slovenia to Barcelona.


Fannie Hungerford (Una) is a local actor, yoga instructor and dance filmmaker. Prior to moving to Iowa City in 2010, she lived in Chicago for 8 years. She has performed in Moby Dick with The Building Stage, with Timeline Theatre Company in This Happy Breed and Pravda and was last seen on the Riverside Theatre stage during the 2012 monologue festival Walking the Wire. A native of South Carolina, she received her BA in Theatre from USC.

Stephen Spencer (Ray) is a guest artist from Chicago and a member of Actor's Equity Association. Spencer’s Chicago credits include The Quality of Life (The Den) and Congo Square's Joe Turner's Come and Gone (Goodman). As an Associate Artist at Chicago Dramatists he's performed in countless new play readings and last year’s critically acclaimed Blizzard ‘67. As a Founding Member of The Shakespeare Project he’s directed or performed in over 30 plays of the Canon. He’s worked regionally and overseas, touring throughout Russia, starting with Moscow's Leninsky Komsomol Theatre, and performed at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.


Meg Eginton, (BLACKBIRD director), now internationally known, was raised in Iowa City and obtained her MFA in directing from the University of Iowa.

Eginton has directed or choreographed over 100 professional and university theatre productions. She began her career as a leading dancer in Merce Cunningham's company, and maintained a company of her own for eight years in Europe and NYC. On Broadway she starred in Bill Irwin's Largely New York, and also acted in movies (Scent of a Woman).

She is a master teacher for NYC Atlantic Theatre School and Conservatory, and has guest taught in Russia, France, Italy and Switzerland.

Meg is the creator of Eginton Alignment, credentialed by the International Somatic Movement Education and Therapy Association. She holds a BA in Dance/Philosophy from Sarah Lawrence College, and an MFA in Directing from the University of Iowa, where she was an Iowa Arts Fellow."

(Source: Riverside Theatre Press Release)

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