(Patrick Healy’s article appeared in The New York Times, 9/16; via Pam Green.)

HARTFORD — Christopher Shinn tilts back in a metal folding chair until it reaches a precarious, 45-degree angle against a wall of the Hartford Stage rehearsal room. He watches silently as the first scene of his new play, “An Opening in Time,” begins with a bam. A baseball hits the house of the main character, Anne, who steps outside, startled. She regards the ball intently. And so does Mr. Shinn. His chair looks like it may slip and crash at any moment, but he never loses focus and never goes down.

“An Opening in Time” was supposed to be the last play that Mr. Shinn wrote before he died. In 2012, at 37, Mr. Shinn — a favorite of theater critics and a Pulitzer Prize finalist for the grief-laden drama “Dying City” — learned he had a rare cancer called Ewing sarcoma. Aggressive chemotherapy was not enough to prevent new tumors, and in June 2013 he emailed friends that his prognosis was “very poor.” The five-year survival rate was 7 percent.



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