A GIRL WITH SUN IN HER EYES Review – Don’t Miss This Edge of your Seat Thriller

Wow! I can’t remember when I last sat through such a mesmerizing evening of theater!  You have until August 7 (although I wouldn’t be surprised it it’s held over!) to see this stunning play.  I repeat: It’s not to be missed. Its quality is all the more remarkable because it’s a PINE BOX THEATRE production which returns from a three-year hiatus. Talk about hitting the ground running!


This gripping world premiere by Chicago writer Joshua Rollins is quite the sensational comeback.  Directed by Matt Miller and featuring Pine Box company members Audrey Francis and Vince Teninty with Karen AldridgeSean ParrisSteve Pickering and Lucy Sandy, A GIRL WITH SUN IN HER EYES plays June 25 – August 7, 2011 at The Second Stage, 3408 N. Sheffield, in Chicago’s Lake View neighborhood.  


A GIRL WITH SUN IN HER EYES is a riveting, gripping, mind boggling—at times I forgot to breath. It’s 6 am and an undercover female police officer has been reported missing for several hours on Chicago’s South Side. The last person to see her is now the primary suspect in her disappearance. Two veteran police officers with complex ties to the missing officer—and each other—lead the interrogation. How wisely, unselfishly, cleverly, or unscrupulously would you behave to save your own hide? A GIRL WITH SUN IN HER EYES will provide you with many answers during and after you see the play. It will live in your head.


I probably should mention here that The Second Stage is a tiny theater that makes ingenious use of its space. It’s an intimate space that augments the intensity of the live performance and makes you an eyewitness to some very violent police interrogation techniques, sexually charged encounters, deadly force—you can’t write this stuff off as special effects.  It’s way too real.   As a matter of fact, I was surprised that Vince Teninty didn’t go straight from the curtain call to the Emergency Room. 


We were lucky enough to meet the playwright, Joshua Rollins, an actor and writer living in Chicago and A GIRL WITH SUN IN HER EYES marks his first full length Chicago production. If this is any indication, his is a name to watch.  His clarity, tough-mindedness and courageous choice of a gritty topic is quite a credit to someone so young.  He certainly has a bright future.

Director Matt Miller returns to Pine Box where he last directed THIS IS OUR YOUTH in 2007. Recent credits include Profiles Theatre’s critically-acclaimed GRACELAND and the revival of THE WEIR for Seanachai Theatre this past fall. www.mattmillerdirect.com.


The production team for A GIRL WITH SUN IN HER EYES includes: 

Grant Sabin (scenic), Joshua Allard (costumes), Julian Pike (lighting), Joe Court (sound), , Zach Stinnett (props), Susan Bowen (Dramaturg) and Amber Johnson (stage manager). Special praise goes to Matt Hawkins, the fights director who made those pulled punches look painfully real.


Title:                           A GIRL WITH SUN IN HER EYES

Playwright:                Joshua Rollins

Director:                    Matt Miller

Featuring: Pine Box company members Audrey Francis (Lucy) and Vince Teninty (William) with Karen Aldridge (Goggins), Sean Parris (Darnel), Steve Pickering (Landy) and Lucy Sandy (Lawyer).


Location:                   The Second Stage, 3408 N. Sheffield, Chicago 60657

Dates:                         June 30 – August 7, 2011

Curtain Times:          Thursdays & Fridays at 8 pm, Saturdays at 5 pm & 8 pm, Sundays at 7 pm.

Tickets:                      $35. Available at www.pineboxtheater.org.


Pine Box Theater (Vincent Teninty, Artistic Director; Greg Rothman, Managing Director) has its genesis in a group of actors who all met and graduated from the School at Steppenwolf in 2004. Wanting to build upon this common experience and strengthen the relationships they had forged there, these twelve actors agreed to form a company with a commitment to producing challenging theatre with a focus on intense character and relationship driven stories. Seminal productions include Life and Limb by Keith Reddin, This is Our Youth by Kenneth Lonergan and Hot 'N' Throbbing by Paula Vogel.  The company has been inactive for the past three years as many of its original members have moved on to other cities, but under the leadership of newly installed Artistic Director Vince Teninty, Pine Box is back with a bang.


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