AP English Literature
13 April 2012
Some works of literature are based on a true story; John Patrick Shanley’s are based on life experiences. While his works of art are not play by play accounts for his life events, they are however based on occurrences in his life. Born in the Bronx on October 3rd, 1950 John Patrick Shanley was the youngest of five children. His mother was a telephone operator mother and his father a meat packer. At a very young age John Patrick Shanley already found himself getting into a lot of trouble. He was thrown out of St. Helene’s kindergarten, banned from St. Anthony's hot lunch program and expelled from Cardinal Spellman High School. After the series of unfortunate events in his life he joined the United States Marines. Following his return home, he attended New York University. He studied at NYU before making a name for himself in 1987. Using his life as a backdrop for his plays, Shanley explores the themes that interrogate society. His plays force an idea about the flaws of relationships, communication, and the compassion of the human race into the readers mind. With the idea of corruption illuminating each play, the morals of the civilization we live is questioned. To aid the readers into understanding these ideas that Shanley processes, his writing contain images and language as vulgar as the topic being presented. With his modernized language and use of slang and swear words, the play is shown to be up to date which is primarily used to allow the readers to understand how the problem is still very much alive. As the setting of each play is as sketchy as the play itself, the readers are permitted to feel the atmosphere of the play and gain a better understanding. Shanley occasionally presents the use of metaphors and symbols in his play to hint to a more serious problem in a less serious manner. The evils of society are exposed in each of Shanley’s play by the presentation of some twisted story plot that is based off an aspect of Shanley’s life.
With about two dozen stage plays and a little under a dozen screen plays John Patrick Shanley made himself a name as a contemporary playwright. Without a doubt, Shanley’s play” Doubt” is one of his more popular one. However his career as a playwright started with his one act play “Welcome to the Moon” produced in New York, NY, 1982, published in “Welcome to the Moon and Other Plays”, Dramatists Play Service in New York, NY, 1985, but before that there was “Saturday Night at the War”, produced in New York, NY, 1978, and “George and the Dragon”, produced in New York, NY, 1979, as well as “Rockaway”, produced in New York, NY, at Vineyard Theater, 1982. Shanley continued on to write plays such as “Savage in Limbo” produced in New York, NY, and published by Dramatists Play Service in 1986, “The dreamer examines his pillow: A Heterosexual Homily” which was produced as a staged reading at the O'Neill Playwrights Conference in 1985 and produced in New York, NY. Another popular play of Shanley’s is “Danny and the Deep Blue” published as “Danny and the Deep Blue Sea: An Apache Dance”, and published by Dramatists Play Service in 1984. “Women of Manhattan”, produced in New York, NY in 1986 in addition to “Italian American Reconciliation”, produced Off-Broadway in 1988 along with “The Big Funk”, 1991, “Beggars in the House of Plenty”, 1992 were others in his collection. “13 by Shanley”, 1992 was a collection of thirteen of his plays. After producing that he continued to produce more plays such “What Is This Everything?”, produced in New York, NY in 1992, “Four Dogs and a Bone [and] The Wild Goose” which was published by Dramatists Play Service in 1995.Within “Missing/Kissing” are two plays “Missing Marisa” and “Kissing Christine” which were other plays by Shanley that were published by Dramatists Play Service in 1997. After the 90’s Shanley continued to produce plays which titles include “Where's My Money?”which was produced in New York, NY