On a lonely 4th of July in Hartford, four isolated individuals search for connection.
“The usual race and class equations have been upended. Nothing is emotionally simple. The play keeps delivering small shocks and aches that end in a standoff, or maybe in that pause between despair, resignation, and a twinge of hope. Haunting.” – Margo Jefferson, New York Times
“Shinn’s landscape of desire is bleak but profoundly familiar. Four eloquently captures the things people don’t say on their way to not getting the love they want.” – Don Shewey, The Advocate
“Shinn explores the pervasive longing to connect, the need for spiritual nourishment, and the emptiness of religion and American culture. The intimate encounters resonate. Each character speaks in a distinctive voice, their dialogue crackling with tension and intelligence. Though the fireworks display fails to engage these searching souls, Four’s taut slice of life sets off its own charges.” – Francine Russo, Village Voice
“The work of a seriously gifted playwright… Without a doubt, the debut of the year.” – David Benedict, Independent
“A voice emerges from an American place. It’s got humor, sadness and a fresh and touching rhythm that tell of the loneliness and secrets of life… A poetic, haunting play.” – Donald Lyons, New York Post
“Four opens with the image of a heartbreakingly jangled teenager trying to get up the nerve to keep a date. For the next 90 minutes, Shinn renders in fine detail an awkward world of youthful self-consciousness, desire and seemingly insurmountable emotional confusion.” – Nelson Pressley, Washington Post
world premiere: Royal Court Theatre, 1998. Directed by Richard Wilson.
pictured: Worth Street/Manhattan Theatre Club, 2001/2002. Directed by Jeff Cohen.
This play is also included in the anthology “Where Do We Live and other plays.”