Tuesday, Apr 8, 2008, 12:42 pm
Playwright Shinn was finalist for Pulitzer
The Pulitzer Committee's recognition of Shinn's politically conscious script marks a departure for the historically conservative and risk-averse board. In years when they haven't awarded the prize to tidy, apolitical, small-scope works like "Dinner With Friends" they've opted to give no prize at all, as they did in 2006. That year, two of the three finalists on offer were beautiful, ambitious works of art (though still apolitical): Adam Rapp's "Red Light Winter" and Rolin Jones's "The Intelligent Design of Jenny Chow." I imagine it was impossible for the committee to even consider the no-confidence option this year with the three finalists they had on offer, (I haven't read it, but the third play, "Yellow Man" by David Henry Hwang is supposedly nothing to sneeze at). As was widely predicted the Committee went with the fierce, huge, and addictive "August: Osage County," written by local Chicagoan Tracy Letts, so it's enough that "Dying City" made it to the final three. All told, it's been a stand-up year for the American play. Keep 'em coming.
Jarrett Dapier is a former assistant publisher at In These Times. Previous work for ITT includes interviews with playwright Christopher Shinn and Fugazi guitarist, Ian Mackaye. He currently works with teens at the Evanston Public Library where he runs a recycled drumming program and directs stage adaptations of young adult literature. He lives in Evanston, IL.