The UI Drama Department’s Workshop Series will feature “Cupid Tyrannous,” a play about love and loneliness


Kicking off the spring semester in the Department of Theater Arts at the University of Iowa is a new play centered around Cupid’s desire to find a soul mate.

Braden Ernst

The cast perform a scene in “Cupid Tyrannous,” a play written by Kiley E Rowe and co-directed by Albert Williams and Alexis Vaselopulos on Tuesday, January 25, 2022. The play is scheduled to premiere Friday, January 28 and Saturday, January 29 at Alan MacVey Theater in the Theater Building.

With Valentine’s Day just weeks away, a play about Cupid, the Roman god of love, and their desire to find a soul mate will be staged as part of the arts department’s latest series of workshops. of the University of Iowa Theater.

tyrannical cupid follows Cupid’s rather treacherous attempts to find a kindred spirit after the god places a bet with Zeus, the Greek ruler of the gods, who says there are an odd number of mortals on Earth. The one who remains is Cupid’s soul mate. From there, Cupid ventures out and exerts his tyranny on Earth in order to find them.

The free play will take place January 28 and 29 at 8 p.m. at the Alan MacVey Theater in the Theater Building as part of the UI Theater Arts Department’s Workshop Series, which allows undergraduate students to submit and stage their own plays alongside a creative team of other students.

Playwright Kiley Rowe, a dual major in creative writing and acting, said her playwriting process for tyrannical cupid was unique.

“What I prefer is to reach the end [of the script], so I normally start with an end and then build from there. But this one, I went scene by scene based on what I thought was necessary,” Rowe said.

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Senior Kyle Watkins, who portrays Zeus in the play, described his character as a “selfish bastard” who sometimes has a lot of authority and understood power.

Watkins said that while he doesn’t describe himself as a “millennial god” or a “selfish, demeaning person”, he thinks he has something in common with the character, which allowed him to play Zeus with ease.

“There’s a sense of competition that Zeus carries that I found to be my strong line,” he said. “I’m a very competitive person; Zeus likes to find competition. He likes to think, ‘How can I make this a fun activity?’ said Watkins.

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Junior Emily Parr, also a theater student, portrays Cupid in the play. She said she hopes she can convey to the audience what it really means to want love, but also how pride can get in the way and ruin it.

A play about love, tyrannical cupid includes many romantic moments between the characters. Rowe said she didn’t really expect her play to be chosen for production because of the intimacy required in the script — a particularly difficult undertaking to pull off during the pandemic. Through the workshop process, however, the actors were able to overcome this key element and safely build intimacy into the play.

The playwright pointed out that while one of the themes of the play is love and how it is defined for each person, the other theme is loneliness – both of which are surprisingly relevant to the connections felt in the world. during the pandemic.

Parr echoed these themes in his description of the play’s central ideas.

“It’s a really powerful message about love that can touch a lot of people, especially since Valentine’s Day is coming up, our holiday of love, where Cupid is very relevant,” she said.


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