Reception

Chicago Magazine asked me what to do over the weekend

The Evansville Courier & Press feature on my work

University of Chicago Website’s “Uniquely Chicago” feature on me


 

30 Days Dry:

“You are blessed to hold in your hands Robert Eric Shoemaker’s vivid and charming first book of poems, composed as a “doctored prescription”: to refrain from boozy spirits, and to instead partake deeply of art making, the impetus for this lucky trade being a genuine display of paternal concern and love delivered in an American chain restaurant… In the realm of Shoemaker’s multi-tonal, plural “instants,” the “greens grow like spread seed,” and the poet finds the way beneath the various shades and arcs of one’s life, the buoyant rainbow in continual and generous burn and shatter to light up the city.”
—Jessica Savitz, author of Hunting is Painting 

“As amulet against the parched interior, 30 Days Dry wards off temptation with strongly worded texts and letters to a “mirror-me” we all recognize in one another. Round and round we go, cheering for a speaker who can spell out rightful histories in a luxurious aftermath of new grass growing. “
—Catherine Theis, author of The Fraud of Good Sleep

“Like any self-help book addict waiting for the guru to publish the next volume, 30 Days Dry will make you thirst for more.”
-Jeri Frederickson, Literary Manager at Irish Theatre of Chicago & Freelance Writer

“Shoemaker squeezes the juice out of his thirty days.”
-Troy Cabida, Author of Lost in London

“I’d read more self help books if they represented honest, complicated journeys like this one… Robert Eric Shoemaker might be an undercover prophet.”
-Melissa Kiefer, Writer and Educator

 


 

PLATH/HUGHES:

“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

Phaedra, Released. :

“Shoemaker retains the tangledness of the original story and skillfully alloys it with youthful touches of his own—like a talking mouse (Rebecca Whitehall).” – Chicago Reader

Bernarda Alba and Her House:

“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

“It’s easy for cold-blooded English-speaking audiences to dismiss this dysfunctional clan with a scornful, “Well, that’s 1930s Spain for you!” After all, haven’t the warm countries al- ways been presumed to be writhing in the coils of repressed passions forbidden our phlegmatic peers? Robert Eric Shoemaker’s relocation of Federico Garcia-Lorca’s drama from rural Anda- lusia to the bayou regions of Louisianareduces the denial reflex significantly.” – Mary Shen Barnidge, Windy City Times

War of the Worlds:

“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.”

Blood Weddin’:

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

Beowulf:

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

Uniquely Chicago Profile

Tiresias:

Her Campus Preview

A Dream Within A Dream:

Henderson Gleaner Preview

Upwards to the Sun:

Henderson Gleaner Preview

No Exit & What Every Woman Knows:

Henderson Gleaner Preview


 

Props Design:

“Robert Eric Shoemaker’s props were right on…” – Around the Town Chicago, Steep’s WASTWATER

“Eric Shoemaker has more than met the challenge of stuffing the room full of
garbage, discarded clothing, video tapes and other junk…” Trash

“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.” –
Trash, Theatre by Numbers

I and You, Around the Town

“Great props” – Look Back in Anger, Offbeat

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

Scenic Design:

“Let’s start with this: I’m not one to make sweeping statements, but “Audience Annihilated Part Two: Gold Star Sticker,” in all its brief but intense fifteen-minute glory, is easily the scariest play  I’ve ever seen.” – Newcity

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