Gilman will be the ninth featured playwright since Eclipse adopted its "One Playwright, One Season" mission in 1997. She will join Lanford Wilson, Keith Reddin, Neil Simon, John Guare, Romulus Linney, Lillian Hellman, Tennessee Williams and Jean Cocteau as writers whose bodies of works have been explored in one season by Eclipse.
Eclipse Theatre's 2006 Rebecca Gilman season opens with the Midwest premiere of The Sweetest Swing in Baseball (March 17-April 23, 2006), directed by ensemble member Nathaniel Swift. The play, a recent work by the writer, "follows the story of Dana Fielding, a successful artist whose latest exhibition flops along with her personal life," according to Eclipse. "To dig herself out of crisis, she is admitted to a psychiatric hospital and seeks inspiration from the unlikeliest of sources — the bad boy of America's favorite pastime."
The season will continue with a revival of Spinning into Butter (July 21-Sept. 23, 2006), about campus politics and hidden prejudice at a mostly-white, New England college where an African-American student receives racially-motivated hate mail.
The season will conclude in fall 2006 with a final Gilman piece yet to be announced. Eclipse will present its entire 2006 season at the Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago.
Eclipse artistic director Anish Jethmalani said in a statement, "We are extremely proud to honor a writer whose roots started here in Chicago and has taken the international stage by storm. Rebecca Gilman is one of the world's most sought-after playwrights and her work has shown why. She has sharply and deftly captured the politics and social conduct of our current time and we feel privileged to present Chicago audiences with a unique look into her remarkable canon, which has continued to leave a smashing impact on theatre audiences around the world." Rebecca Gilman received her MFA in playwriting from the University of Iowa in 1991. She is the recipient of the Scott McPherson Award, which is a commission for a new play awarded by the Goodman Theatre of Chicago. She is also the recipient of a Diverse Visions Grant from InterMedia Arts of Minnesota for her play Smaller and Clearer as the Years Go By. A native of Alabama, Gilman is a resident playwright at the Chicago Dramatists Workshop. Her plays also include The Glory of Living and the Goodman Theatre world premieres of Boy Gets Girl and Blue Surge. Her adaptation of Henrik Ibsen's The Dollhouse will be premiering at the Goodman this summer.
Gilman's adaptation of Carson McCullers' The Heart is a Lonely Hunter recently premiered at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, in conjunction with The Acting Company of New York.
Eclipse Theatre Company continues its 2005 Lanford Wilson season this summer at the Victory Gardens Theater by presenting Sextet: An Evening of One-Acts by Lanford Wilson (opens Aug. 8) and concludes with Talley & Son (opening Nov. 14), directed by Lou Contey. Earlier this season, Eclipse presented Lanford Wilson's The Rimers of Eldritch.
The Eclipse ensemble is Cecil Averett, Rom Barkhordar, Cheri Chenoweth, Chris Corwin, Julie Daley, Steven Fedoruk, Thomas Jones, Anish Jethmalani, CeCe Klinger, Maren Robinson, Kevin Scott, Steve Scott, Tiffany Scott, Gary Simmers, Nathaniel Swift, Katie Vandehey and Francis Wilkerson.
A non-profit organization founded in 1992, Eclipse Theatre Company is the only Midwestern theatre dedicated to producing the works of one playwright each season. Through a yearlong exploration of one writer's works, Eclipse "strives to bring a full, complex, and complete experience" of that writer's canon to its audiences.