Middlebury

Award winning dramatist Rinde Eckert to perform "Horizon" Oct. 8

September 18, 2007

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. - On Monday, Oct. 8, at 8 p.m., Obie award winner Rinde Eckert will perform his play "Horizon" in Wright Memorial Theatre, located on Château Road off College Street (Route 125). Earlier that day, at 12:15 p.m., a "Behind-the-Scenes Lunch and Discussion" will take place with Eckert and other cast members, also at Wright Memorial Theatre, and lunch is provided free.

"Horizon," which opened to rave reviews in the New York Theatre Workshop in June, is a tale of one theologian's crisis of faith. The play is Eckert's homage in song, sketch and rumination to Reinhold Niebuhr, who died in 1971 and is generally acknowledged as the most influential American theology scholar of his time. Loosely based on the teachings of Niebuhr, Eckert's character is Reinhart Poole, an unconventional teacher of ethics at a seminary. Pressured to resign by dogmatic powers within his church, he works all night on his last lecture. He talks with his wife, argues with the ghost of his brother, remembers conversations, and indulges his hobby: writing a comic allegory about two ageless masons who have been building the same church foundation for over a thousand years.

In addition to Eckert, this work for three actors features Howard Swain and 1995 Middlebury graduate David Barlow.

Eckert is a writer, composer, performer and director. His productions have toured throughout America and to major festivals in Europe and Asia. He began his career in the 1980s, writing librettos for composer Paul Dresher. Working subsequently with choreographers Margaret Jenkins and Sarah Shelton Mann, Eckert began composing dance scores, including the evening-length "Woman, Window, Square" for The Margaret Jenkins Dance Company. Eckert began composing and performing his own music and theatrical pieces in 1992, with the creation of his homage to Dante, "The Gardening of Thomas D." Recent work includes the Obie Award-winning "And God Created Great Whales" (2001); "Highway Ulysses" (2003); and "Orpheus X" (2006). He has composed several recordings of song, including "Finding My Way Home" (1994); "Do the Day Over" (1996); and "Story in Story Out" (1997).

Eckert has received numerous honors for his work, including two Critics Circle Awards and two Isadora Duncan Awards in San Francisco, and Boston's Eliot Norton Award for Best Production by a Large Resident Company. He also received the 2005 Marc Blitzstein Award to a lyricist and librettist from The American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a 2007 Guggenheim Fellowship. Eckert taught at Princeton University in 2007, and in 2008 will be Granada Artist-in-Residence at the University of California at Davis Department of Theater and Dance, and is in partnership with four departments at the University of Iowa to create and perform a work exploring the loss of vision.

The performance is sponsored by the Middlebury College Performing Arts Series and the Department of Theatre and Dance. Tickets for the performance are $15 for general admission and $12 for seniors. For tickets, call the Middlebury College Box Office at 802-443-6433. Online tickets and information are available at www.middlebury.edu/arts.