Theatre Thursday – November 9

I’m running a little behind here – our first post-show disussion for Boy Gets Girl was one week ago tonight, and I’m finally finding a moment to write a post. I was away from the show for a few days (my sister had an absolutely beautiful wedding in New York last weekend, and James Joseph played the role of Mercer for three performances – he did a fantastic job from what I’ve heard, and I’ll probably write more about the process of working with an understudy soon), and life and work have been interfering with blogging time. But I’m back, and looking forward to having some great conversations with audiences after kicking things off right last Thursday.

It was a Theatre Thursday performance – a wonderful program that the League of Chicago Theatres offers in conjunction with Theatres all over Chicago (about a League worth, I’d imagine). The evening began at Kendall’s, a comfy sports bar next door to the theatre with great pizza and music that frequently finds its way into our theatre during quiet moments of plays. Patrons, who were encouraged to bring blind dates “in the spirit of Boy Gets Girl” (a suggestion they probably felt less comfortable with after seeing the show), had the opportunity to mingle with Eclipse Company members before the show, have a discussion with us after the show, and take a quick backstage tour.

The discussion covered a wide range of topics, many of which I expect to come up again as we along.

We talked a lot about Rebecca Gilman’s works in general – an audience member said he was unfamiliar with her plays and asked for a quick summary of her career. This sparked an energetic discussion of all of her plays, and a few comments on the consistent elements of her writing that we’ve seen this year. Gilman doesn’t shy away from any subject matters, and she seems to enjoy most the issues that are complex and unresolvable. We talked about the lack of a “solution” in Boy Gets Girl, Spinning into Butter and The Sweetest Swing in Baseball (it’s also true of The Glory of Living, Blue Surge, Dollhouse … ). It’s one of the things I loved about Gilman’s style when we started thinking about featuring her as our 2006 playwright; she explores difficult issues without pulling punches, and she doesn’t try to tell audiences how they should feel about those issues. Her plays are the kinds of plays you leave the theatre still talking about, the kinds of plays that demand a stop at a bar or coffeehouse on the way home so you can keep talking about them, the kinds of plays your mind returns to months later because those issues aren’t easy, and they’re not easily solveable, and there’s more thinking and talking to be done.

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