Keith Reddin's Works Are the Focus of Chicago's Eclipse Theatre in 2004, Starting With Frame 312

News   Keith Reddin's Works Are the Focus of Chicago's Eclipse Theatre in 2004, Starting With Frame 312 Playwright Keith Reddin is the signature playwright for the 2004 season by The Eclipse Theatre Company of Chicago, which offers a the body of work of one playwright per season.
Keith Reddin.
Keith Reddin.

Reddin will be the seventh featured playwright since Eclipse adopted its "One Playwright, One Season" mission in 1997. He joins John Guare, Romulus Linney, Lillian Hellman, Tennessee Williams, Jean Cocteau and Neil Simon as writers whose bodies of works have been explored in one season by Eclipse. (Off-Broadway's Signature Theatre in Manhattan similarly looks at one writer each season; the current artist-writer is Bill Irwin).

The 2004 Eclipse season begins with the Midwest premiere of Reddin's Frame 312, in spring 2004.

Reddin is a long established writer and actor who is considered by many to be a staple of Chicago theatre, according to the Eclipse announcement. He has written and acted in numerous plays with many local, regional and Off-Broadway theatres.

Reddin (pronounced "re-DEEN") graduated from Northwestern University and attended The Yale School of Drama. As an actor, he achieved critical acclaim for his performance as a Russian clerk mistaken for a powerful official in The Goodman Theatre's 1985 production of The Government Inspector. As a writer, Reddin made his debut with the dark comedy, Life and Limb, at Wisdom Bridge in 1984, and since then many of his plays have been produced around the world with considerable success.

His works have been premiered in Chicago by Wisdom Bridge, Remains, American Blues Theatre (now American Theatre Company), and Goodman. In addition to Life and Limb, Reddin's canon also includes Rum and Coke, Highest Standard of Living, Life During Wartime, Big Time, Nebraska, Brutality of Fact, Black Snow, The Innocents Crusade, Almost Blue, Synergy and All the Rage. A new work, Can't Let Go, got a May-June run Off-Off Broadway starring Rebecca Luker in a rare non-singing role.

In 1993, Black Snow won the Joseph Jefferson Award for Best Production of the year. In 1998, Reddin became a playwright in residence at The Goodman where many of his productions were staged by longtime friend and colleague, the late director Michael Maggio.

The 2004 Eclipse season will continue in the summer with a revival of his 1994 play, Brutality of Fact, and will conclude in the fall with a newly restored version of his 1987 play, Big Time.

Eclipse artistic director Anish Jethmalani said in a statement: "It was important to take the next step in finding a local playwright who had built their career and reputation in Chicago. We didn't have to look very far to discover Keith Reddin, who has had a long, rich history with the Chicago theatre community both as an actor and writer. It's an honor and privilege for us to delve into the works of this masterful writer. From politics to religion to testing the family structure, he explores an enormous range of stories and characters that address timeless issues, taking a sharp satirical look at the circumstances around them. Now is the perfect time to honor Reddin's contributions to the local theatre scene and to the world at large."

Specific dates and venue for Eclipse's 2004 Season will be released soon. For more information on subscriptions to the Keith Reddin season, call (312) 409-1687.

*

Frame 312 is "a fascinating dramatization of a conspiracy theory surrounding Kennedy's assassination. It's the 1990s, and Lynette, an ex-assistant editor at Life magazine, now living in obscurity, has gathered her family around her to celebrate her birthday. She has a secret that she needs to confide in them. In the 1960s, when she worked as an assistant at Life, she was an 'unwilling' witness to the first showing of the Zapruder film about the assassination of Kennedy, which allegedly proved the theory that there was a second assassin. Chosen by her boss to hand over the film to the FBI, Lynette is the last surviving link in this particular chain of mysterious events. Thirty years later and the controversy still rumbles on — will the retiring ex-assistant forsake her and her family's anonymity to demonstrate this incontrovertible evidence to the world?"

In Brutality of Fact, "Val, a matriarch, comes to live with her daughter Jackie. Recently divorced and having lost custody of her daughter, Jackie takes her mother in willingly, but also enlists her in a crusade to convert everyone to a Jehovah's Witness. The two women comb the neighborhoods with religious magazines, shoring up Jackie's faith, and killing Val's optimism, not to mention her feet! Val's other daughter, Maggie, resurfaces after a long absence to be told that her mother thinks she's dead — since Maggie vanished years ago, Jackie just thought it easier to lie. Maggie's trying to kick her drinking habit, and hearing this news doesn’t help. Reacquainted with her slightly surprised mother, Maggie tries to be the ear Val needs when she can’t stand living with either Jackie's fanatical ways or her newfound zealot boyfriend, Chris. Val runs away, but Maggie can't take her in. The hilarious yet dark situations continue as: Jackie develops questions about her faith, and her new husband; Maggie finds sobriety; and grandmother Val hangs out to help her granddaughter, Marlene, through it all."

In Big Time, "Paul belongs to the fast-track crowd of young banker-broker-trader-dealers whizzing about the world, troubleshooting on international accounts of 'serious money,' flying home to relax with a beer and a quick snort of cocaine, he's the yuppie prince supreme. But though he's a major member of the ‘gimme generation,’ Paul's also an innocent. He loves his work, he fights for his woman, he believes in his future, he's sold on success. Then, on a trip to shore up a shaky financial situation in a Middle Eastern country, he has his faced rubbed in the global realities of America."

*

Currently, Eclipse is concluding its 2003 season featuring the works of Neil Simon, with Rumors, which will begin previews Oct. 30 at the Victory Gardens Theater.

A non-profit organization founded in 1992, Eclipse Theatre Company is the only Midwest theatre company dedicated to producing the works of one playwright each season. Through a yearlong exploration of one writers' works, Eclipse strives to bring a full, complex and complete experience to its audiences.