The brilliant Donmar “Behind the Scenes” guide for Teddy Ferrara is online.
This will be the last round-up of Teddy tweets as the play enters the second month of its run. I’m so thrilled with the audience responses to Dominic Cooke’s incredible production. Earlier entries: 1, 2.
This Matt Trueman piece for FT includes some nice details about my long-term working relationship with the great Dominic Cooke.
For American Theatre’s issue on disability I wrote a remembrance of my friendship with the late, disabled playwright John Belluso.
Izzy Ryan, Cambridge Student: While still intensely internalised and personal, American playwright Christopher Shinn somehow adds a powerfully political edge to the plot, sharply criticising the Iraq War where Craig is killed. The undercurrent of homophobia adds to the unsettling feel of the play. We watch as the passive aggression of all three characters grows to match the horror of the war but remains subtle and delicate.
Jacob Haddad, The Tab: Although the play is only an hour long, you are left both emotionally and physically drained; surprising for sedentary entertainment. The audience is constantly involved in piecing things together up until the shock revelation of the end, figuring out past from present, so that it’s more of a mental and psychological workout than passive spectating.
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.
Carole Woddis, ReviewsGate: Shinn finds fresh and disturbing angles that encompass suicide, closeted gays amongst `straights’, and most discomforting of all, attitudes towards disability and transgender in the gay community.
Tim Bano, Exeunt: A wide-ranging, far-reaching play that makes the case for society, or at least university societies, finding themselves at a transitional point… Teddy Ferrara induces an uneasy tension between the individual and universal, without ever attempting to resolve it.
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.