Sunday, October 05, 2008

Theatre Communications Group - American Theatre - October 2008:

Sheila Callaghan doesn’t finish sentences. She tumbles forward through a flood of images and ideas, sometimes pausing to recall how she arrived at this particular spot in the conversation. There’s a giddy energy about her, and she’s a magnet for people and discussion.

Callaghan’s writing, likewise, seems to filter in everything around her before spinning back onto the page. Though she’s often tagged with various nebulous labels (“downtown” and “language playwright” are two, and neither is totally unfounded), her plays defy categorization. They are sexy, punky, smart, sophisticated, literate, edgy, tightly woven, big, crass, witty, exquisite. They swell with moments of the unreal but never let go of a narrative thread. They expand and contract to underscore everyday grit and epic ache.

“She writes the kind of plays you can’t wait to crack open,” says director Kip Fagan, who began working with Callaghan more than a decade ago at Seattle’s Printer’s Devil Theater, which Callaghan calls her first professional-development home. “She works in a lot of different idioms, but whether the play is naturalistic, like Lascivious Something, or a totally dystopian, theatrical story, like We Are Not These Hands, there’s a buoyancy that can be missing in a lot of more formally adventurous writing. There’s nothing dry about her plays.”

8:18 PM