Eclipse Theatre Names Its Playwright of 2016

News   Eclipse Theatre Names Its Playwright of 2016
Chicago's Eclipse Theatre has named Stephen Adly Guirgis its playwright of 2016. The company's 2016 season will exclusively feature shows written by the playwright.

In a statement Nathaniel Swift, Eclipse’s artistic director, said, "As we continue through our third decade, the Eclipse ensemble is excited to present the works of one of the most important and imaginative voices in contemporary American theatre. Guirgis’s plays are funny and heart-breaking, written in the poetic voice of everyday people, exploring the grandest questions of human existence, and the most intimate moments of human connections. His plays are important for this moment in America, as we continue to wrestle with questions of race, gender, power, and violence."

The Chicago Sun Times reports that the season will include three plays by Guirgis.

Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train, presented April 14-May 22, 2016, will open the season. Ensemble member Anish Jethmalani will direct the show, which will run at the Athenaeum Theatre. The show is described a such: "The play is set at New York’s Rikers Island, where Angel Cruz is in prison awaiting trial for shooting Reverend Kim. Cruz walks the tightrope between salvation and the point of no return. While in jail he meets Lucius Jenkins, an inmate whose pride and religious zeal defy the bars that hold him prisoner. Their encounter will change each other forever."

Our Lady of 121st Street, presented Jul 14-Aug. 21, 2016, will follow. Ensemble member Sarah Moeller will direct the show, which will run at the Athenaeum Theatre. The show is described as such: "The play is set at the Ortiz Funeral Home which is in big trouble: The body of beloved community activist and nun Sister Rose has been stolen from the viewing room, and waiting for her proper return are some of New York City’s most emotionally charged, life-challenged neighborhood denizens, trying to find a place to put their grief, checkered pasts and uncertain futures. The rest of the crowd in this 'dark, insightful and very funny comedy' inevitably square off against each other, motivated by rage, pain and a scary desire to come clean—perhaps for the first time."

A third play, which has yet to be announced, will be presented Nov. 3-Dec. 18, 2016. Ensemble member Steve Scott will direct. The show will run at the Athenaeum Theatre.

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