(Feingold’s article appeared in the Village Voice, 6/13.)
John Patrick Shanley has the gift, always rare among playwrights, of writing scenes that convey both shape and spontaneity. You never feel with him that his characters are being shoved this way or that, for the sake of a previously worked-out agenda. Things happen in a Shanley play because they happen, not because the author nagged or nudged the characters into making them do so. The inevitable downside is that sometimes they don't happen, or happen too easily; the characters are prone to let their talk wander from the point, and to settle their affairs all too conveniently when they remember to come back to it.