JEREMY WECHSLER is the Artistic Director of Theater Wit where he has directed the Chicago premieres of THE WHISTLEBLOWER, HURRICANE DIANE, THE REALISTIC JONESES, ADMISSIONS, 10 OUT OF 12, NAPERVILLE, THE ANTELOPE PARTY, THE NEW SINCERITY, THE (CURIOUS CASE OF THE) WATSON INTELLIGENCE (Best of 2015 - Sun Times), BAD JEWS (Best of 2015 - New City), MR BURNS: A POST-ELECTRIC PLAY (Time Out Peoples’ Choice Award for Direction, Best of 2015), SEVEN HOMELESS MAMMOTHS WANDER NEW ENGLAND (Sun Times Best of Year 2014), COMPLETENESS, TIGERS BE STILL, THIS, THE FOUR OF US, FEYDEAU-SI-DEAU, MEN OF STEEL, THOM PAIN (BASED ON NOTHING) (Jeff Award - Best Solo Peformance), TWO FOR THE SHOW and annual favorite THE SANTALAND DIARIES. Under Jeremy’s leadership, Theater Wit has emerged as the go to destination for cutting edge contemporary work, gaining national recognition for excellence. He has directed over fifty shows at various Chicago theaters, including TRAGEDY A TRAGEDY, THE FLU SEASON, A TASTE OF HONEY (“US Best of 2008” in The Wall Street Journal), NOW THEN AGAIN (Jeff Award - Best New Work), THE PLAY ABOUT THE SQUIRREL, THE WHITE DEVIL, THIS IS NOT A PLAY ABOUT CANCER, PEER GYNT, THE REAL THING, SZINHAZ, THE DUCHESS OF MALFI, TRAGEDY A TRAGEDY, TITUS ANDRONICUS, THE ROARING GIRL, FLIGHT, THE MOST FABULOUS STORY EVERY TOLD, THIS IS THE RILL SPEAKING, HAY FEVER, A MONTH IN THE COUNTRY, EUROPE, HENRY VI: BLOOD OF A NATION, THE PROMISE, SPIN, UN ROBOT, HORROR ACADEMY, KIND LADY, PLAYING BY THE RULES, THE MARRIAGE OF BETTE AND BOO, SOLITAIRE, THE COARSE ACTING SHOW, LIFE IS A DREAM, THE PRISONER'S DILEMMA, CABARET and THE THREEPENNY OPERA. His productions have been nominated for and won multiple awards for design, performance, adaptation and best new work. He has been featured multiple times in the New York Times and American Theatre Magazine.
I believe in the theater.
Specializing in new work and second productions, I have had the pleasure of forging lasting relationships with some of the most important playwrights of our time, partnering extensively with artists like Anne Washburn, Madeleine George, Itamar Moses, Alena Smith, Joshua Harmon and Will Eno. I am proud of my contribution to these writers and the future lives of these works. My commitment to these writers' entire body of work over the decades has made me (I hope) an essential part of their artistic lives.
My work strives create an alloy of honesty, surprise and laughter in these dark rooms. I respect the complex and shared humanity of both characters and audience in each moment. I direct with a very specific kinesthetic question: what is happening to the audience's bodies right now? How can we engage those responses more fully? What catharsis can we mirror at a purely physical level? These micro-movements of our bodies in the audience unlock our hearts. It is a quest for intimacy and unity, where I believe the goal of playwright, actor, designer and audience is to expand our minds.
As a professional director with a career that has spanned 30 years and some 70 productions and workshops, I've had the opportunity to work at a dozen theaters, with texts that range from Henry VI to Thom Pain (based on nothing). Based in Chicago, I've had the opportunity to direct in twelve seat and seven hundred seat houses. I've worked on shows with a budgets of $120,000 down to $220. I've made plays that have been seen by thousands, and those that have been seen by dozens. I've worked with nationally recognized actors and writers and well as students.
At the end of the day, none of those variations matter; my faith is unwavering: I believe in the power of intellect and humor to change minds. I believe that simple words change lives. I know that the road to understanding runs through the complexity and ambiguity that defines us as human; the easy answers are the very ones that diminish the hope of empathy. I believe in the honesty of gathering ourselves into dark rooms to hear new stories. I believe in writers.
There is no other art form that can work this precisely and immediately to engender empathy. It demands immediacy and honesty from everyone in every dark room, no matter the size or play.
I believe in this power. These days more than ever.