Synopses & Reviews
"I've written plays and a few screenplays, in each one a person who isn't me speaks, and then another who isn't me replies, and then a third one enters or the first one speaks again. . . . I've even worked as a professional actor, speaking out loud as if I were someone not myself. . . . Every once in a while, though, I like to take a break from fantasyland, and I go off to the place called Reality for a brief vacation."Wallace Shawn, from Essays
"Lovely, hilarious, and seriously thought-provoking."Toni Morrison
"Full of what you might call conversation starters: tricky propositions about morality, politics, and art as a force for change (or not). . . . It's a treat to hear [Shawn] speak his curious mind."O Magazine
"As an actor and playwright, Shawn's eccentric style is like no one else's. And in his collection of Essays . . . that inimitable inquiring voice can be heard loud and clear."Los Angeles Times
"Fearless!"GQ, Best Books of 2009
With his distinctive brand of humor and insight, acclaimed playwright and beloved actor Wallace Shawn takes readers on a revelatory journey through high art, war, culture, politics, and privilege that includes his thoughts as both an artist and a political thinker.
Wallace Shawn is an Obie Awardwinning playwright and noted stage and screen actor. He is co-author of the film My Dinner with André and author of the plays The Fever, Aunt Dan and Lemon, The Designated Mourner, and Grasses of a Thousand Colors. He lives in New York City.
Probing essays and observations by acclaimed actor and playwright Wallace Shawn, in his first nonfiction collection.
"Full of what you might call conversation starters: tricky propositions about morality... politics, privilege, runaway nationalist fantasies, collective guilt, and art as a force for change (or not)...It's a treat to hear him speak his curious mind."--O Magazine
In these beautiful essays, Wallace Shawn takes us on a revelatory journey in which the personal and political become one.
Whether writing about the genesis of his plays, such as Aunt Dan and Lemon; discussing how the privileged world of arts and letters takes for granted the work of the "unobtrusives," the people who serve our food and deliver our mail; or describing his upbringing in the sheltered world of Manhattan's cultural elite, Shawn reveals a unique ability to step back from the appearance of things to explore their deeper social meanings. He grasps contradictions, even when unpleasant, and challenges us to look, as he does, at our own behavior in a more honest light. He also finds the pathos in the political and personal challenges of everyday life.
With a sharp wit, remarkable attention to detail, and the same acumen as a writer of prose as he is a playwright, Shawn invites us to look at the world with new eyes, the better to understand--and change it.
Praise for Wallace Shawn and Essays:
About the Author
Wallace Shawn is an Obie Awardwinning playwright and a noted stage and screen actor. His plays The Designated Mourner and The Fever have recently been produced as films, and his translation of Threepenny Opera was recently performed on Broadway. He is co-author of My Dinner with Andre and the author of The Fever, Aunt Dan and Lemon, and Grasses of a Thousand Colors, among other works.