21 Jul Women’s architecture organizations present play at the Lyric Theatre July 30

L’Union International des Femmes Architectes and The International Archive of Women in Architecture will present Libby Skala’s internationally acclaimed play “LiLiA!”  at the Lyric Theatre at 135 College Avenue in Blacksburg, Virginia, on Thursday, July 30 at 4:30 p.m. as part of the 18th UIFA Congress.

The performance is open to the public and tickets will be available at the door. General admission is $10.00, or $5.00 for students. For more information please call the Lyric Theater at (540) 951-0604.

Libby as a child with grandmother Lilia. Photo by Grace Polk.

Libby as a child with grandmother Lilia. Photo by Grace Polk.

The show is performed by actress and writer Libby Skala who portrays the life of her grandmother, architect and Oscar-nominated actress Lilia Skala, whose architectural drawings are archived in IAWA’s permanent collection in Special Collections within Virginia Tech’s University Libraries.

Viennese born, Lilia Skala became the first female architect in Austria, a stage star in Max Reinhardt’s theater, and finally a Hitler refugee who worked her way out of a New York zipper factory to an acting career on Broadway, television, and film.  She collected award nominations for her performance in “Roseland” (Golden Globe), “Eleanor and Franklin” (Emmy) and most notably Oscar and Golden Globe nominations for her role as the Mother Superior in “Lilies of the Field.”

Out of this remarkable journey emerges the story of a relationship between Lilia and her granddaughter, Libby in which the Grande Dame serves as mentor, role model, and at times, unwitting adversary.  Before she died, she asked Libby to write a part for her. Libby began developing the show shortly thereafter.

In 2003, Lilia Skala’s architectural drawings were added to the IAWA’s permanent collection in Special Collections and have toured to destinations as far reaching as Japan and Outer Mongolia in the IAWA’s traveling exhibits. These drawings will be on special display in the library in conjunction with the congress and performance of “LiLiA!”

“We are thrilled to present Libby’s show about her grandmother Lilia Skala here at the IAWA as a part of the 18th UIFA Congress and have looked forward to this moment since we were given Lilia’s drawings by her two sons in 2003. This is a very special moment in casting these wonderful materials and this important history into the future,” said Donna Dunay, G.T. Ward Professor of Architecture in the School of Architecture + Design and chair of the IAWA. “Everyone should go see Lilia’s drawings prior to the play, just down College Avenue where they are on display at the University Library in the windows of Special Collections beside the College Avenue entrance.”

Libby Skala wrote and has performed the critically acclaimed “LiLiA!” to sold-out houses across North America, in London sponsored by the Austrian Cultural Forum, at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, in Berlin and Dresden, Germany, and in Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia. It ran off-Broadway produced by Mirror Repertory Company. Her second play “A Time to Dance” won “Best Solo Performer” Award at The London Fringe Theatre Festival. She played Viola in Twelfth Night at St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival, appeared in the film “Birth” with Nicole Kidman and is a graduate of Oberlin College.