Chicago Theatre Review
Pine Box Returns
Pine Box returns from hiatus with original police suspense story
A Girl With Sun in Her Eyes by Joshua Rollins
Directed by Matt Miller
Pine Box Theater at the Second Stage, 3408 N. Sheffield, Chicago 60657
Runs June 30 – August 7, 2011
Tickets $35, available at www.pineboxtheater.org
Review by Kaylee Holt
After a three-year hiatus, Pine Box Theater is back with the world premiere of Joshua Rollins’s A Girl With Sun in Her Eyes. The story follows one night in the investigation of a missing police officer, and slowly reveals the missing girl’s relationship to both the officers investigating the disappearance and the suspects brought in for interrogation. While the play gets off to a rocky start, eventually it finds its stride and demonstrates some quality storytelling.
The dialogue is slightly awkward in the beginning; however, often just as a line feels awkward, it’s followed up by a joke that cuts the discomfort. Plus, Vincent Teninty carries the play along and keeps the audience interested as William, the average guy you continue to pull for even when you know you shouldn’t. As the play goes on, the other actors come into their own; Steve Pickering does a solid job as Landy, the rough but secretly emotional officer, as does Sean Parris as Darnel, the nonchalant suspect with an attitude. Both manage to be funny and convincing.
The structure of the play was effective and suspenseful; it alternated between interrogation scenes and scenes of what actually happened leading up to the crime. Rollins constantly introduces new information, but does so slowly enough to build suspense and keep the audience guessing. Though there are a few too many long, confessional monologues, Rollins’s talent shines through in the scenes with rowdy, overlapping dialogue.
Second Stage is an intimate theater, and the space is utilized well; there’s seating on both sides of the stage area, so that the audience surrounds the action. A Girl With Sun in Her Eyes gradually sucks its audience in, and is an interesting look at the domino effect each of our decisions can have. I’m curious to see what Pine Box Theater has to offer in the time to come.