The most notable aspect of Rebecca Gilman’s play to a critic is, unsurprisingly, its full-bore assault on critics and the institutional apparatus of art. Dana (Janelle Snow), a painter, is having trouble replicating her early success. The incessant opinions of her dealer, her gallerist, her boyfriend, and fellow artists pile on until they drive her to slash her wrists. Facing a woefully inadequate hospital stay determined by her insurance, she finagles more treatment by pretending to think she’s Darryl Strawberry. Gilman’s plays thrive on conflict and extremity, and “The Sweetest Swing” is at its best in such bits as the rants of fellow patient Gary (Gary Simmers) against the TV anchorman controlling his mind and Dana’s furious outburst against her insufferable gallerist (Kerry Richlan). But the play never feels more than half-realized. Gilman doesn’t do all that much with her inherently farcical premise; too many scenes are devoted to working out the fairly questionable premise that someone with Dana’s disorder would necessarily know Strawberry’s various statistics. Eclipse’s low-key production pushes the spotlight onto the play’s ideas. Unfortunately, while the correlation of the art world with a psychiatric hospital and the resentful ranting against the envious hordes who do not create could prop up a funnier or more frenetic presentation, suggesting that they’re considered thoughts is a dangerous move. (John Beer)
This production is now closed.