Technically 180 seconds or so… I participated in the “New School Minute” and gave a lecture entitled “Desire, Scapegoating, and the Sacred: René Girard and Theatre.”
I’ve started occasionally posting brief thoughts on various topics on Medium. I don’t know if I’ll keep it up, but for now I’m enjoying it.
Carrie O’Connell, San Diego Reader: The beauty of Shinn’s script is the exposition of character through environment… John’s world, not unlike his state-of-the-art hotel suite perched high above the crowd below, is a self-perpetuating “bubble of insanity.” He rails against it but also finds refuge within… Shinn’s script is no joke. If something’s controversial, it’s in there: terrorism, religious intolerance, identity politics, marriage equality, and class privilege — all combine to cram John’s exhausting world.
Bill Eadie, San Diego Story: Even though Now or Later is set in 2008, its central debates are mostly still going on. And, after being bombarded with the angry and sometimes empty rhetoric of the 2016 campaign, it is almost a relief to escape to the theatre and hear important questions affecting the U. S. debated with both substance and skill.
This year saw two major productions in the autumn: the world premiere of An Opening in Time at Hartford Stage and a new production of Teddy Ferrara at the Donmar Warehouse. Around these two productions, Patrick Healy profiled me with generosity, depth, and sensitivity. Also this year, I continued to teach playwriting at the New School for Drama, while stepping down as head of Playwriting to focus more on my work. I also wrote personal pieces for the Hartford Courant and American Theatre Magazine, and spent a wonderful hour with Colin McEnroe on WNPR. 2016 should be a productive year on many fronts; watch this space!
For American Theatre’s issue on disability I wrote a remembrance of my friendship with the late, disabled playwright John Belluso.
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.
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.