James Campbell’s interview appeared in the Guardian, March 29:
At home in the dark
If Dick Cheney had been obsessed by the poetry of John Ashbery, there would be a lot of people alive today who are now dead'
As a child living on New York's Upper East Side in the early 1950s, Wallace Shawn mounted puppet shows for the entertainment of parents and friends. In a recent memoir of family life, Wallace's brother Allen described these early trespasses on the theatrical world as "shows that explored the dark underbelly of life and tore the mask away from genteel society". Wallace Shawn is tickled at being reminded of them, and nods to the suggestion that he has been exploring that side of things in plays ever since. "One of the puppet shows was about the conflicts in the Congo, another was about the private life of Wittgenstein. We had an adaptation of Paradise Lost that lasted for four hours. I was ambitious from a young age."