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  Play Details

The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek

The Greenhouse Theater Center
2257 N Lincoln Avenue Chicago

High atop a railroad trestle that spans a bone dry creek, two teenagers plan to race across the bridge against an oncoming locomotive. At first their scheme adds excitement to their life in a small factory town during the Great Depression, but their sensual experience, dawning sexuality and confusion awakens dangerous passions in an era of stifled ambitions. With theatrical flourish, humor and lyrical finesse, Naomi Wallace delves into a world where people struggle to change lives that bear down upon them. Guest artist and revered director Jonathan Berry makes his directorial debut with Eclipse.

Thru - Sep 4, 2011



Price: $28

Show Type: Drama

Box Office: 773-404-7336

Running Time: 2hrs; one intermission

www.eclipsetheatre.com


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  The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek Reviews

Chicago Tribune - Somewhat Recommended

"...Director Jonathan Berry has shown a deft gift in the past with character-rich stories of quiet desperation, most notably with the plays of British writer Simon Stephens. But at points, he seems flummoxed as to how to infuse Wallace's image-rich but somewhat airless tale with the same sense of urgency Pace has for running the bridge. His cast, particularly Cowsill's defiant Pace, Farabee's yearning Dalton and Marker's bowed-but-not-beaten Gin, all have moments here that shine a poignant light in the dark sadness surrounding the characters. But Wallace's occasional injections of clumsy, off-the-shelf agit-prop, as when Dalton observes "My country loves me — that's why it's killing me," tend to deflate the delicate tensions of the tale, which is already undercut by our knowing the general outlines of what will happen early on."
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Kerry Reid


Chicago Sun Times - Recommended

"...Director Jonathan Berry, who staged a knockout Steep Theatre production of the pitch black “Festen” this spring, and who will make his Off Broadway debut this fall, is a master of shedding light on darkness. And while he and his superbly chosen actors can’t entirely camouflage Wallace’s frequently self-conscious, heavily poetic dialogue, this production — the second of three plays in Eclipse’s all-Wallace season — goes a long way in dispelling the feeling that the characters are mouthpieces for the playwright’s political views. He goes deep into the emotions that drive these people."
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Hedy Weiss


Chicago Reader - Somewhat Recommended

"...Naomi Wallace's 1999 tale of poverty and passion in Depression-era rural America is light on action, heavy on imagery. Teens Dalton Chance and Pace Creagan plan to race a train across a trestle, and, as we're told from the get-go, it doesn't end well. That's about all you get in the way of plot. The rest of the play is filled with lyrical goings-on, most of them ham-fisted and overwritten, featuring lots of artful talk about touch and glass and trains."
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Zac Thompson


NewCity Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...Wallace’s poetry resonates but the narrative trips over the construction. That’s alright; the performers pull the audience through. Cowsill’s Pace is so abruptly honest and intelligent you question her sanity; Farabee’s absolutely believable as the “good boy” overwhelmed by Pace’s single-mindedness.  Marker and Scott impress as a loving couple reviving their relationship. Director Jonathan Berry’s staging and pacing keeps a hard-luck tale vibrant and alive."
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Lisa Buscani


Windy City Times - Highly Recommended

"..."My heart's shooting dice in my chest—snake-eyes!" declares our heroine, thrilling to the powerful engines that swiftly slice through boredom and bodies. Is Wallace's play a neo-gothic romance of innocents thwarted by nihilism driving them to a despair as fatal as that of Heathcliff and his Cathy? Or is it a social drama, its subject the hardships suffered by working-class citizens in less enlightened times? Whatever the answer, there is no denying the riveting suspense generated by the Eclipse Theatre Company's darkly evocative production."
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Mary Shen Barnidge


Centerstage - Recommended

"...Dialogue in this script suffers terribly from what I call “Everyone talks like a playwright syndrome” which sacrifices individuality and authenticity for artificial eloquence. The production makes up for it on atmosphere though, director Jonathan Berry does a fine job of building the claustrophobic, hopeless atmosphere, Lee Keenan’s lighting design covers the stage in darkness to the point that the actors are just shadows. This is an affecting show."

Rory Leahy


Time Out Chicago - Recommended

"...Wallace burdens her tale with a heavy payload of imagery: Dray spends silent hours making shadow animals on the wall; Gin’s hands turn radioactive blue after “they changed the chemicals at work again.” Such flourishes threaten to obscure the central mystery of the outcome of Dalton and Pace’s relationship; they nearly derail Berry’s revival. But with strong assistance from his designers (Joe Schermoly’s perspectival set and Joshua Horvath’s locomotive score are both evocative), Berry and his fine young leads find solid ground. Cowsill’s intense Pace and Farabee’s cherubic Dalton transcend the playwright’s self-conscious poetics."
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Kris Vire


Chicago Theater Beat - Highly Recommended

"...Naomi Wallace’s The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek is sheer atmosphere. It makes no arguments–it just uses stark poetry and burning imagery to present an action portrait of dead-end despair. The subject: Depression-era survivors, drifters in stasis. It’s 1936 and an unnamed small town has lost hope along with jobs. The WPA can’t make up for the forced redundancy of thousands of hard luck folks. There’s talk of strike against the local glass factory, where the women workers have ended up with permanently blue hands from chemical contamination. Even the local creek has run dry."

Lawrence Bommer


ChicagoCritic - Highly Recommended

"...Naomi Wallace’s The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek is a passionate look at repressed anger, frustration, and sexual appetites that come from boredom and lack of hope that permeates the poor in rural Depression Era America. Wallace’s play has a unique flourish and a lyrical sophistication that dramatizes the struggles by folks to change lives that bear down upon them. This is a hauntingly powerful look at repressed emotions and spoiled hopes. The Eclipse Theatre Company’s production is well staged by Jonathan Berry and well acted. It is a “must see” summer treat. Naomi Wallace is a major playwright with an incomparable voice and a poet’s touch."
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Tom Williams


Chicago Stage Standard - Highly Recommended

"...Dalton’s father suffers from being jobless and the impact takes a toll on his mental health, leaving him in a constant state of distress, emotionally unattached from his family. The window opened by Wallace and the strong ensemble performance given by Eclipse really drives home the points the playwright is trying to make. “The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek” is a genuine theatre production you shouldn’t miss."

Tyler Tidmore


Chicago Now - Highly Recommended

"...THE TRESTLE AT POPE LICK CREEK is a heavy-duty story that asks simply: what would you do for love? What part of yourself would you give up for someone else? And what could you leave behind to follow that love? THE TRESTLE AT POPE LICK CREEK is depressingly beautiful!"
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Katy Walsh


Around The Town Chicago - Recommended

"...Director Jonathan Berry makes great use of the upstairs studio at The Greenhouse Theater Center, a small, intimate space on a marvelous set by Joe Schermoly. The trestle appears very real and one just might be looking at a train to cross over our heads. It works well as the jail cell and with a little creativity we can visualize the kitchen setting for Dalton’s family.His mother works at an unhealthy job ,his father never leaves the house, making shadow characters on the wall. These are people with very little and fear that it will get worse."
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Alan Bresloff


   This show has been Jeff Recommended*

*The designation of "Jeff Recommended" is given to a production when at least ONE ELEMENT of the show was deemed outstanding by the opening night judges of The Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee. The entire production is then eligible for nomination for awards at the end of the season.
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