Post by Anna Troiano.
Wallace Shawn and Steven McCasland. Photo by Sarah Flamm.
“A play is one kind of communicating. It’s like speaking to a friend.”
On Tuesday evening, February 21, 2017, in a captivating talk with famed actor and playwright Wallace Shawn at the Drama Book Shop, he discussed the power of theatre and its effect on the mind of an individual. “It has the power to influence people... It can help someone make a significant decision they otherwise might not.”
The cozy space underneath the store was filled with fans of the playwright, all there to celebrate the recent publication of Shawn’s brand new play Evening at the Talk House, currently in production with The New Group running through March 12 at the Pershing Square Signature Center.
Wallace Shawn. Photo by Sarah Flamm.
Those in attendance were most excited to hear a reading from the play by Shawn himself at the beginning of the program — a twelve-minute monologue performed by Matthew Broderick in the production. Shawn plays a different role in the play, the same role he played when the production premiered at the National Theatre in London in 2015.
Having finished writing Evening three years ago, he was asked about his process of revising a play and how he knows if a work is complete or needs more review: “I have to have the self-discipline to recognize that I’m bored. You have to ask yourself, 'Are you sure you are not bored?' because you really might be.”
After the event, Shawn signed books for a long line of eager fans, chatting cheerfully with all of them about their interest in his work and their own burgeoning writing careers.
Wallace Shawn. Photo by Erin Salvi.
Evening at the Talk House, though it premiered more than a year ago, has an eerie timeliness, allowing us to glimpse a world that may look more like the near future than we would hope. Though he wrote this notably foreboding work, Shawn himself has a gracious and amiable nature that indeed made the event feel like an evening spent speaking to a friend.
Check out the Drama Book Shop's video of the discussion below!
Anna Troiano is the Marketing Associate for Theatre Communications Group. Since graduating from the University of Michigan, prior to joining the staff at TCG, she has spent her professional life working for nonprofit theatre companies such as Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and Signature Theatre Company (New York, NY), as well as the publishing house Wimbledon Publishing Company (London, UK). She spends her personal life taking long walks with her dog and freelance editing.