"Now or Later" Echoes Current Headlines
In American Premiere At The Huntington

To coincide with the ongoing presidential campaign, the Huntington Theatre Company will stage the American premiere of "Now or Later," Christopher Shinn’s timely political drama about our freedoms. Drama Desk and Outer Critic’s Circle Award winner Michael Wilson, who recently helmed the acclaimed Broadway production of Gore Vidal’s presidential drama "The Best Man," directs the new production, playing October 12 - November 10 at the Calderwood Pavilion.

The cast includes Michael Goldsmith, Ryan King, Tom Nelis, Adriane Lenox, Grant MacDermott (at left) and Alexandra Neil.

Called “riveting, urgent, and unmissable” by The Times of London, the play takes place in real time in a hotel room on election night as the returns are being announced. The gay son of the favored presidential candidate sends his father’s team into crisis mode when controversial photos of him at a college party dressed as the prophet Muhammad and accompanied by a friend dressed as the ultra-conservative “Pastor Bob” spread over the internet, potentially sparking an international incident.

Quickly, the son must wrestle to explain his motives and personal beliefs about freedoms of religion and expression to members of his father’s campaign team, his mother and ultimately his father. The Telegraph says "Now or Later" is "the play we have been waiting for – a gripping, daring work that examines the Western response to Islamic fundamentalism and the consequent threat to freedom of speech.”

Michael Wilson commented, "I am so thrilled to be directing Chris's play at this moment as it directly explores how Americans defend a core principle – freedom of expression – in the face of violence sparked by the mockery of another society's faith. As we begin rehearsals, I am profoundly struck by the recent tragic events in Libya, Egypt, and Yemen sparked by ridicule of Muhammad. The incendiary event of this play is perceived similarly – only the perpetrator in 'Now or Later' is the son of the President-elect. Chris’s play puts these events in a fuller context, affording our audience the opportunity to explore more fully what is at stake in these complex clashes of culture, government, and faith.”

Shinn wrote "Now or Later" as a commission for London’s Royal Court in 2008. The production was extended and became the American dramatist’s biggest UK hit.

Shinn remembered, “'Now or Later' was written at a very specific time, both for the world and in my life, and returning to it four years later is fascinating for me. On the political level, seeing what has changed – both substantially and superficially – has strengthened my sense of what’s timeless about the play’s questions (and lack of answers). On the personal level, the characters’ yearnings and maneuverings feel even murkier to me. To revisit the play is to face what I believed then, what I believe now, and what I suspect I might believe in the future.”

Shinn's plays include "Picked," "Dying City," "On the Mountain," "Four," "What Didn’t Happen" and others. His adaptation of "Hedda Gabler" for the Roundabout appeared on Broadway in 2009. He is a winner of an Obie Award in Playwriting and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He has also been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Drama and short-listed for the Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Play.

For tickets and information, stop by the box office, call 617-266-0800 or visit huntingtontheatre.org.

-- OnStage Boston



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