The Eccentricities of a Nightingale | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Arts & Culture » Theater Critic's Choice

The Eccentricities of a Nightingale



The Eccentricities of a Nightingale

Since forming in 1993, the Eclipse Theatre Company has become the sensible walking shoe of Chicago theater: smart, basic, and dependable. Dedicating each season to the works of a single playwright, the company members seem more interested in clear, straightforward renditions of their chosen texts than in attention-getting theatrical splash. Their stripped-down 1999 production of Tennessee Williams's The Eccentricities of a Nightingale typified their workmanlike style. The play is Williams's reworking of his 1947 classic Summer and Smoke, and it had its world premiere at the Goodman in 1967. It tells the story of Alma Winemiller, the skittish and sexually repressed daughter of a Mississippi Episcopal preacher, attempting to forge a romance with her next-door neighbor, the frustrated young doctor John Buchanan. Director Steve Scott brings a necessary lyrical sensibility to Williams's iconic fable, separating him from all the directors in town who treat Williams like a kitchen-sink realist. As with most of Eclipse's productions, you probably won't leave thrilled, but you will have seen a careful, clearheaded, well-acted production of a great play. Sometimes that's more memorable than all the splash in the world. Theater on the Lake, Fullerton and Lake Shore Dr., 312-742-7994. Opens Wednesday, July 19, 8 PM. Through July 23: Thursday-Saturday, 8 PM; Sunday, 4 PM. $10. --Justin Hayford

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): theater still by Katie Vandehey.

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  →