"The Fractured Mind of Eric Coble" is TheatreUNI’s second production of the fall 2021 theatre season, and becomes available to the public online beginning Friday, Nov. 12. 

Embracing the world of comedy and the 21st century, TheatreUNI will present five short radio plays by playwright Eric Coble, designed to tickle the funny bone. The plays include: "Prometheus and the God(Father)", "Art-Net", "Haunted" and "Professor L. Pedanto on 'The Sound of Music', 'Music Man', 'Oklahoma' and 'Death of a Jazzman'". 

Eric Coble is a member of the Cleveland Play House Playwrights Unit, has been nominated for an Emmy and has received numerous playwriting awards. The New York Times has noted: “Eric Coble’s hilariously funny, psychologically astute portrait hits home with rib-tickling acuity.” Newsday says: “Coble’s comedies are, of all things, genuinely funny.” 

Director Stephen Taft compares Coble to Mel Brooks.

“Eric Coble’s viewpoint of the various classic characters and situations we may recognize in the plays we’re presenting is unique, hilarious and often satirical,” he said. “Voice-over acting is not easy. Each actor has the responsibility for creating a character that you cannot only hear, but see, and imagine as you listen.” 

Taft has cast twenty-four actors ranging from freshmen to seniors, all who bring their unique sense of humor, interpretation and voice to the characters.

“It’s a new challenge. In this time of COVID many theatre companies have embraced podcast performances, radio plays or virtual theatre,” he said. “When the department was planning its 2021-22 season last year we had no idea what the COVID situation would be this fall. It’s important for the department to offer our students performance opportunities and to UNI and Cedar Valley in a safe environment.”

Although radio plays do not require a set, costumes or lighting design, the recording of sound and sound design is a primary component in several of the plays. Digital Studies major, Brena Laine Ollinger and Theatre major Riley Mcneal are discovering and creating sound effects, along with Taft, for the plays.

“The world of Sound Design and Foley is another occupational option that many students aren’t aware exists. I’m thrilled we’ve had a couple of students show such interest,” Taft said.

The Stage Manager is Joel Salwolke and the Assistant Stage Manager is Aria Jensen.

Tickets are $10 for the general public and free to UNI students with their student I.D. UNITIX box offices are located in the Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center and the McLeod Center on the UNI Campus.


Eric Lange, Artistic Director, Strayer-Wood Theatre, 319-273-6833, eric.lange@uni.edu

Office of University Relations, 319-273-6728, ur@uni.edu