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Joseph Chaikin



July 15, 2001 - September 9, 2001

Guest Artist-In-Residence commissioned to co-direct the world premiere of Shut Eye with Dan Rothenberg '95 and the Pig Iron Theatre Company of Philadelphia. Chaikin's presence was supported by a major grant from the William J. Cooper Foundation. First performances of Shut Eye were presented in the Frear Ensemble Theater in September, 2001, as the first event in the 10th Anniversary Season of the Lang Performing Arts Center on the Swarthmore College campus. The Swarthmore performances were followed by a half-dozen performances at the the Painted Bride Arts Center as part of the 2001 Philadelphia Fringe Festival. Shut Eye has since been performed at Princeton University, in San Francisco (Theater Artaud), in Philadelphia (Wilma Theater), Edinburgh (Traverse Theater), Dublin, Sicily, Warsaw (Teatr Dramatyczny, Palace of Culture), Lodz (State School of Drama and Film), Bytom (Silesian Dance Theater), and Kalisz.

This was Chaikin's third and last visit to Swarthmore with support from the William J. Cooper Foundation (the director passed away in June, 2003). Chaikin was widely regarded as one of the leading American experimental theater directors of his generation. He was the founder and director of two companies, The Open Theater and The Winter Project. He was the author of the classic acting text, The Presence of the Actor and was also renowned for his productions of Samuel Beckett's works. Shut Eye was Chaikin's directorial debut in Philadelphia, and was his last developmental work created for the stage.