Friday photo rescue

Spinning into Butter, from the 2006 Rebecca Gilman season.

Spinning into Butter by Rebecca Gilman


Searching for meaning

One of the fun things about having a blog is that I get to see what search terms people use to find us – sometimes we’re what they’re looking for (“eclipse theatre blog” is a pretty frequent one, for example), and sometimes, well, maybe we’re not (“night sky backdrop for plays” brought someone here last week, and I have no idea what that search engine found). Regardless, I hope everyone enjoys the blog no matter how they got here.

I found a search term today that made me laugh, and I hope the post was helpful for the searcher: 

springsteen jackson cage meaning

I’ve already admitted to being a big Springsteen fan, and I was thrilled last year to find out that Rebecca Gilman is too – at our symposium in March 2006, she explained that the song Jackson Cage was the inspiration for her play Blue Surge. As I wrote then, the connection was clear to me immediately – the sense of being trapped by a class structure you don’t understand resonates strongly in both the song and the play.

We’re considering Blue Surge for our 2009 season (the second year of our Celebration Series). In the meantime, I hope we were able to help someone find a little meaning in an obscure Springsteen song.

A backstage tour of Spinning into Butter

Spinning into Butter

Gerardo Cardenas, who played Patrick Chibas in our production of Spinning into Butter this past summer, shared with me a collection of pictures he took during the final week of rehearsals.

His pictures are beautiful – they’re intimate moments with the cast and crew as they make their final preperations. Take a look through the photo gallery, or watch the collection as a slide show by clicking the link at the top of the gallery.


Much thanks to Gerardo for letting us share these.

Our run of Boy Gets Girl ended just before the holidays, wrapping up a great season working with Rebecca Gilman’s exhilarating scripts.

As we prepare for Blues for an Alabama Sky, the first in our 2007 season featuring Pearl Cleage, I’ll be sharing some of my thoughts about her plays and novels, my research in designing lights for the show, our dramaturgical research and the post-show discussions throughout the run.

Stick around.

Blue Surge reading

Click for larger image

We had a casual reading of Rebecca Gilman’s Blue Surge last Saturday – we read through the play with scripts in hand, and invited subscribers to join us to listen and discuss the play. That’s me on the right, going over lines that morning.
More pictures and a brief summary of the discussion below the fold.

Continue reading

Post-show discussions – November 25-December 3

Sorry for the delay – we’ve had a busy couple of weeks, with some great discussions, a reading of Blue Surge, a trip to see Suzan-Lori Parks’s 365 Days / 365 Plays (which we’ll be working on next September), and a performance without lights. I’ll try to catch up quickly here, and write about all the excitement in the next couple of days.

Continue reading

Blue Surge Reading Dec 2

We’ll be reading Rebecca Gilman’s Blue Surge on Saturday, December 2 – in addition to the three full productions each season, we also like to give our audiences the opportunity to explore as much of the playwright’s work as possible. It’s a free event, starting at 3 pm in the upstairs studio at the Victory Gardens Greenhouse (call the box office at 773.871.3000 to reserve a seat), on the set of Boy Gets Girl.

During the symposium we held back in the spring, Rebecca explained that part of the inspiration for Blue Surge was the song Jackson Cage by Bruce Springsteen. As a big Springsteen fan myself, I instantly saw the connection – it’s a play that explores the confinement of class, focusing on a couple of small-time cops in a small town and a couple of prostitutes trying to make a decent living. Like all of Rebecca’s plays, the issues are complex and the situations have an uncomfortable truth to them.

Bruce puts the truth bluntly for his characters:

You can try with all your might
But you’re reminded every night
That you been judged and handed life
Down in Jackson Cage

Join us on Saturday at 3 for a reading of Blue Surge and a discussion with Eclipse company members following the reading.

Post-show discussion – Saturday, November 18

We spent a good part of Saturday night’s post-show discussion talking about Rebecca Gilman – who she is, what her plays are like, and why we decided to spend a year telling her stories.

A few people were interested in our process of choosing each season’s playwright – we start with recommendations from company members, audiences and friends, and we have a four-person Artistic Committee that’s charged with the task of reading through the works of over a dozen playwrights and narrowing the field to four finalists. Once we’ve got our final four, we read a play or two from each playwright out loud read all the plays on our own, discuss, argue and vote.

Continue reading