Director & Designer


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BERNARDA ALBA and HER HOUSE, from Lorca’s masterpiece (2015-16: Redtwist Theatre Guest Company, Poetry Is)

“Lorca used the concept of duende to describe irrational, morbid emotions evoked by the flamenco, surrealism, puppet-theatre, and folklore he was fascinated by. However, his last play, Bernarda Alba, was a major shift for him stylistically. Lorca stated in the script that the play was meant as a “photographic document.” Shoemaker ignores that instruction. Four dancers sit in the corner of the theatre, and accentuate the action with stomping, singing, musical instruments, and occasionally, joining in the scene to interact with Bernadette’s senile mother, Mary Jo (Nancy Wai). These non-naturalistic innovations massively increases the play’s emotional force in its confined quarters; for while intimacy can strengthen an audience’s connection to a particular character,Bernarda Alba is a large ensemble piece, and music (composed by Przemyslaw Bosak) charges the atmosphere with all the characters’ feelings at once.” – Jacob Davis, Chicago Critic

“…in the shadowy, nightmarish world built mainly on imagination, it is much more frightening.” – Jacob Davis, Chicago Critic

“All of the sisters are perpetually agitated, and besides being starved for sex, are cooped up with too many people and constantly on edge from lack of privacy. Shoemaker’s concept allows all the inhabitants of Lorca’s play to be sympathetic, while tragically flawed, and finds some beautiful stage pictures while doing so.” – Jacob Davis, Chicago Critic

“…this adaptation preserves and delivers the emotional core of what makes The House of Bernarda Alba such a fascinating character study, with a unique twist.” – Jacob Davis, Chicago Critic

“A concept difficult for modern playgoers to grasp is that of the full-out-take-no-prisoners emotion—sometimes called “duende”—mandatory to interpretation of Lorca’s aesthetic, without which the characters’ extreme actions quickly plummet into camp burlesque. Fortunately, this Poetry Is production (staged in association with the DCASE Lorca In America project) has assembled a company of intuitive actors capable of infusing the Creole dialects and colloquial vocabulary with the sensual darkness necessary to generate the requisite catharsis.” – Mary Shen Barnidge, Windy City Times 

“The results make for a tightly integrated 90-minute spectacle combining instrumental music, body percussion, song, dance, poetry and the spoken word in pursuit of (as Lorca himself once said) ‘lifting the text off the page and making it human.’” – Mary Shen Barnidge, Windy City Times

Mrs. Bernarda Alba (2015: Hyde Park Players Staged Reading)

Buster Keaton Passes By (2015: Skokie Theatre Short Play Festival, Abbie Fest at Mary-Arrchie Theatre)

War of the Worlds (2015: Gorilla Tango Bucktown)

“I am recommending that anyone who has a $12 and just over an hour to spare head over to Gorilla Tango Theatre to see Robert Eric Shoemaker’s new adaptation” – Chicago Stage Standard

“…a heck of a lot of fun.”

“Shoemaker’s adaptation is a dialogue with Welles and the original radio broadcast, offering a springboard for contemplating the role of the media in shaping reality, and how that role has changed. And not.”

“Follow the committed cast into the rabbit hole, and then go discuss.”

The Cask of Amontillado (2015: Redd Opera Festival)

PLATH/HUGHES (2013: Staged Reading, 2014 Rhinoceros Festival At Prop Thtr, 2014: Gorilla Tango Bucktown, 2015: Chicago Musical Theatre Festival)

“Unencumbered by a strict timeline, the essence of their seven-year, bittersweet relationship dazzles from start to finish. It’s smart storytelling.” “Mr. Shoemaker’s lyrics, often extracted from Plath and Hughes’ poetry, are dense, imagistic, jarring. The music’s idiosyncrasies exemplify how impenetrably personal one couple’s relationship can be to outsiders. Yet no matter how complex they get, the songs never lose their vitality.” – Chicago Stage Standard

“Plath/Hughes is the first work I’ve seen so far at the CMTF that I can easily see being transferred to one of the dramatic storefronts in Chicago…Hopefully, this is a work that will continue to have a long life after its remaining CMTF performance.” -Chicago Critic

“Out of all of the movies and books that have been put out there, I think this is much more accurate than anything I’ve ever seen,” Mathews said. “Obviously no one knows what happens behind closed doors, but the playwright, Eric Shoemaker, talked to their family friends a lot in research for the show. We got as close to an insider’s view as possible, I think.” – Chicago Maroon

Blood Weddin’ (2013: Classical Entertainment Society)

Blood Weddin’ is quite unlike anything the CES has done before and unlike anything you’re likely to see onstage this year.” – The Chicago Maroon

Crimes of the Heart (2014: 3 Brothers Theatre and Theater Momentum)

Chicago Theater Review

Beowulf (2012: Classical Entertainment Society)

“Don’t be afraid to join the battle.” – Chicago Maroon

Uniquely Chicago Profile

Tiresias (2013: Classical Entertainment Society)

Her Campus Preview

A Dream Within A Dream (2009: Ta Pyra Ensemble)

Henderson Gleaner Preview

Upwards to the Sun (2010: Ta Pyra Ensemble)

Henderson Gleaner Preview

No Exit (2011: Ta Pyra Ensemble)

Henderson Gleaner Preview

What Every Woman Knows (2011: Ta Pyra Ensemble)

Henderson Gleaner Preview

Box of Wind staged reading (2012: University Theater)

Adaptation (2011: University Theater)

Heave My Heart Into My Mouth staged reading (2013: 3 Brothers Theatre)

Myrrha (2014: City Lit Theatre’s Art of Adaptation)

Transformations: After Ovid staged reading (2015: Gorilla Tango Bucktown)


Design & Management

Props Design: Redtwist’s I and You (2014, Jeff Recommended), Redtwist’s Geezers (2014, Jeff Recommended), Poor Theatre’s Catch the Fish (2014), Redtwist’s Look Back in Anger (2014, Jeff Recommended), Hypocrites’ All Our Tragic (Assistant, 2014, Jeff Recommended, Best Plays of 2014)

“Set designer Clint Greene and set dresser Eric Shoemaker fill a faux wood-paneled living room with so much newspaper, the space resembles a dumpster” – Theatre by Numbers

“Eric Shoemaker has more than met the challenge” – Chicago Theatre Review

I and You, Around the Town

“Great props” – Look Back in Anger, Offbeat

“Vast attention to detail” – I and You, CSS

Scenic Design: A Dream Within A Dream (2009), Upwards to the Sun (2010), No Exit (2011), What Every Woman Knows (2011), Tiresias (2013), Intro to Scenic Design (2013), WOMEN! A Comedy (2013), Audience Annihilated Part 2 (2013)

Fight Choreography: Upwards to the Sun (2010), No Exit (2011), Beowulf (2012), Blood Weddin’ (2013), Les Liaisons Dangereuses (2013), training with Greg Poljacik (2013), Romeo and Juliet (2014)

Production Management: Theatre Y’s Happy Days (2014)

Press Relations: Leftend Productions’ Twelfth Night (2014) 

Sound Design: A Dream Within A Dream (2009), Upwards to the Sun (2010), No Exit (2011), What Every Woman Knows (2011), Beowulf (2012), Tiresias (2013), Principia Circusatica (2013), PLATH/HUGHES staged reading (2013)

Dramaturgy: Moksori (2012), Hotel Nepenthe (2012), The Drowsy Chaperone (2013)