Michael Billington, Guardian: Christopher Shinn’s fierce, polemical play was inspired by the 2010 case of Tyler Clementi… Shinn’s play has a passionate sincerity and demolishes the myth that we live in a cosy new world of sexual tolerance. Shinn paints a comprehensive picture of a world in which homophobic bullying leads to depression and even death, but where no one starts to address the real causes.
Rosalind Stone, Londonist: Despite the jokes — and almost every line is quotable — Teddy Ferrara is downright unenjoyable for the same reason that it is great: its meticulousness as social commentary. Every element carries ironising force… There is no let-up from the constant cringes. Shinn doesn’t leave us room to sympathise with his characters: it’s as though they’re his vehicles for bombarding us with acute observations on the nuanced cruelties in human nature. Everyone’s desperate for change but the vibe’s too glib for anyone to offer sincere, viable solutions. It’s an honest reconnoitre into a world of pain and an abyss of deafening silence.
Michael Coveney, WhatsOnStage: Shinn is saying a lot about American society in this heated microcosm, but he also manages some tart and touching personal stuff… The ironic point is that it’s still hard to be gay and happy even as society bends over backwards, so to speak, to accommodate diversity, difference and even promiscuous life-style with soft soap and David Cameron-style pieties about gay marriage and inclusiveness.
Tasha Clare, A Younger Theatre: Teddy Ferrara at the Donmar is a rare thing: utterly absorbing, politically urgent and polished to a tee… This is a balanced examination into the unglamorous, very real and difficult side of being young and different right now, and what is at stake if we ignore these voices.
Paul Taylor, Independent: Sociologically provocative… Shinn’s play is a clever take on whether the rhetoric of tolerance still surpasses the reality as the deceased are appropriated by different interest-groups.
Nick Hern Books has published Teddy Ferrara to coincide with the Donmar Warehouse production.
Ben Brantley, New York Times: This play is steeped in a gentle compassion for people trapped by self-deception. And the 40-year-old Mr. Shinn finds an affecting glimmer of hope for characters in the twilight of their lives.
Jeffrey Borak, The Berkshire Eagle: Delicately balanced, at times achingly moving… Time and memory — how we remember and why we remember events the way in which we remember them — weave through the carefully shaped emotional neighborhood of Shinn’s play… There is an economy of expression throughout that reflects the desperate restlessness that stirs the play’s undercurrents.
Karen Bovard, Broadway World: Shinn opens a window into lives that we rarely see on stage… It is characteristic of Shinn as a playwright that he doesn’t neaten up the messiness of reality in making his selections of what to include and what to omit. He also trusts the audience to do the work of connecting some of the dots, the whys and wherefores, and he is willing to leave key plot points unresolved.
Frank Rizzo, Hartford Courant: Nuanced, contemplative and enigmatic… Life here is lived in the small “Our Town” mundaneness of daily activity, over pie or pudding, and at diners, pizza joints and kitchen tables. But in Shinn’s town, life is considerably more complicated, mysterious and messier… One of Shinn’s most intimate and personal plays.
Patrick Healy profiled me beautifully for the New York Times.
Click here to see photos of Teddy Ferrara in rehearsal.