Shinn's Four Gets Hartford, CT, Premiere, in the Playwright's Hometown, June 20-July 27

News   Shinn's Four Gets Hartford, CT, Premiere, in the Playwright's Hometown, June 20-July 27 Four, Christopher Shinn's play of four people hoping to connect on emotional, intellectual or physical levels, has been seen in London and New York but, until now, not in Hartford, CT, where the coming-of-age drama is set.
Daniel Whitner and Nick Scoullar appear in TheaterWork's production of Four by Christopher Shinn.
Daniel Whitner and Nick Scoullar appear in TheaterWork's production of Four by Christopher Shinn. (Photo by Lanny Nagler)

"The heat of desire and the ache of loneliness are colors juxtaposed against the July 4th night sky of Hartford in Four," according to TheaterWorks, the resident professional company in Hartford, CT, where the drama plays June 20-July 27.

Shinn was born in Hartford and raised in Wethersfield, CT. He wrote Four in 1998 when he was just 23 years old. The play had a production at the Royal Court Theatre in London, and subsequently had its American premiere in Chicago. Its critically-acclaimed New York premiere was presented by the Worth Street Theatre Company, and it transferred to an extended Off-Broadway run at Manhattan Theatre Club.

TheaterWorks' Four represents the first full production of Christopher Shinn's work in Connecticut. The cast includes Nick Scoullar, Sebastian Sozzi, Erica N. Tazel and Daniel Whitner. TheaterWorks associate artistic director Rob Ruggiero directs. Designers are Jeff Cowie (set), John Lasiter (lighting), Laurie Churba (costume), J. Hagenbuckle (sound).

"Four paints a provocative and poetic portrait of sexual confusion and unfulfilled desire, of forbidden passions and surprising tenderness," according to TheaterWorks production notes. " On the Fourth of July in Hartford, a 16-year-old white boy meets a closeted, married black man he's chatted with on the Internet. On the same night this man's teenage daughter goes out with Dexter, a self-styled hip-hop basketball star at her high school. Each is out to score on this steamy summer night, but sexual connection comes at a price. In and around Hartford, on the night of American independence, these two couples move from being strangers to intimates. In lonely landscapes of movie theatres, fast food restaurants, darkened churches and public parks, all four discover the limits of desire and the possibilities for transcendence."

Christopher Shinn lives in New York. He graduated from the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts High School and has studied writing with Tony Kushner, David Greenspan, Maria Irene Fornes, Michael Cunningham, Richard Howard, John Dias, and Jessica Hagedorn. His plays include Other People (Royal Court, Playwrights Horizons), The Coming World (Soho Theatre, London) and What Didn't Happen (Playwrights Horizons). TheaterWorks is at 233 Pearl Street in downtown Hartford. Four's official opening is June 27. Tickets range $30-$40. For information, call (860) 527-7838.