Sheila Callaghan is one of the most distinctive playwrights working in the theater today. Fiercely political, unblinkingly experimental, yet emotionally true, her writing is a refreshing combination of the compelling and the controversial.
This volume collects three of her most recent plays to date. It includes: Lascivious Something, a heart-rending and disturbing exploration of failed love and shattered idealism at the dawn of the Reagan era, it follows a lapsed activist’s attempt to start life anew on a vineyard in Greece and what happens when the woman he left behind tracks him down; Roadkill Confidential, a noir-ish meditation on brutality and the intersection between fear and art, focused on an artist who uses the corpses of dead animals found on the side of the road as the medium for her creations; and That Pretty Pretty; Or, the Rape Play, which imagines our girls gone wild culture spiraling out to its most extreme ends while exploring issues of beauty, objectification, perversity, and naturalism in current society.
Sheila Callaghan seems to have put third-wave feminism, Gen-Y gender confusion and macho writerly clichés in a blender set to high speed.
[Callaghan] push[es] her audience’s buttons with an aggressive treatment of some of the darker corners of the human psyche.
[Callaghan’s] 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.
Post-feminist punk incursions into the poetic turf of early Sam Shepard.
[Callaghan’s] playful sense of language and her attunement to her characters are enthralling.
Callaghan has a keen sense of language as an act of aggression.