S H E I L A    C A L L A G H A N

playwright, etc.

press quotes.

[please click below]


PORT OUT, STARBOARD HOME
(written in collaboration with foolsFURY Theatre)


"[Sheila Callaghan's] plays are formally smart and intellectually engaged... The superficial traits of each character are tautly established, and they stick. The story is harder to pin down, as the tone wavers between terror and comedy.... This cruise gets you back to shore." -New York Times

"Remarkable [...] character/ensemble-driven physical theater... celebrates a threatened form of theater-making that foregrounds virtuosic ensemble characterization, sensitivity, and imagination." -Culturebot

"The play bears to ask: are people ever capable of changing? And how shocking, surreal, large, and extraordinary must an event be to change a person irrevocably... The greatest cabbage buffet choreography I have ever seen... real standout moments." -NY Theater

"The play is an allegory, an indictment of thoughtless first-world consumerism, as well as materialism, superficiality, and the idea that personal happiness is a worthwhile life goal. The choice to explore these themes shows the playwright to be a well-intentioned, thoughtful artist... Admirable is Ms. Callaghan's brave decision to express her ideas in an unconventional, stylized form... There are a number of funny, clever, and entertaining moments in the play, enjoyable performances, as well as a powerful climax... Strong, dynamic and very ambitious." -Stage and Cinema

"The mood can range from a burlesque interpretation of a glutinous attack on a buffet line to morning-after wooziness." -SF Bay Area Reporter

"A creepy cruise may either sound oxymoronic or redundant depending upon your point of view. In a way Port Out, Starboard Home by Sheila Callaghan makes a case for the latter but definitely letting you laugh (often) throughout." -off-off blogway

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ROADKILL CONFIDENTIAL

"Roadkill Confidential, a new work by Sheila Callaghan, is intriguing to watch... it's a sick sitcom, it's a thriller, it's a parody, it's a commentary on the art world, it's a -- this one's borrowed from the script's title page -- 'noirish meditation on brutality'." -New York Times

"This multi-media spectacle... ransacks familiar pop-cultural genre conventions to deliver a smart and stylish cautionary tale of an artist who gets caught up in the savagery of her own art." -Variety

"Sheila Callaghan, like many playwrights, operates best when she's angry...dry her out with a nice, warming rage, and her work crackles... Callaghan parodies brilliantly... " -TimeOut New York

"Sheila Callaghan's latest is a fascinating look at our perpetual state of paranoia... It's hard to say if the fascinating whole is searingly intelligent parody or something altogether more serious; the uncertainty is admirable." -TimeOut Chicago

"Sheila Callaghan's imagination has turned noir... [in] Roadkill Confidential, her new drama, [she] pays playful homage to the shadowy old crime-film genre even as it flirts with apocalypse." -The Village Voice

"Sheila Callaghan's play... abounds with cleverness... " -The New Yorker

"Sheila Callaghan must never have writer's block... Roadkill Confidential, her newest work, [is]... provocative, sure, but smart, too... " -New York Magazine

"If you think theater should be scary, exciting, and insightful, truck downtown to ... Sheila Callaghan's hip and freaky Roadkill Confidential... " -Backstage

"... laugh-inspiring and thought-provoking... Callaghan's play is filled with some terrific (and surreal) flights of fancy... [Callaghan] is equally cunning in the ways in which she satirizes aspects of our world today... It's all incredibly thoughtful... consistently engaging." -Theatermania.com

"Sheila Callaghan gets the current zeitgeist in New York right... Callaghan has a vision that is clear, individual... [she] is a smart writer unafraid of blood... In Roadkill Confidential, Sheila Callaghan catches our era's lack of apology; as unappealing as that might seem to some." -Stage Voices

"...cruelly blunt and emotionally frayed... [with] Onion-caliber sarcasm... and the ironic deployment of stock characters and situations [and] seemingly earnest critiques couched within... Roadkill Confidential ends with triumphant, gripping ambivalence. It's a chase into the digitally distorted psyche of a society at once overly sensitive and totally desensitized." -The L Magazine

"Roadkill Confidential is a dark comedy about brutal characters... Callaghan's crisp prose talk[s] about what it really wants to talk about... " -New York Broadway World

"Roadkill Confidential tackles, with style, humor, and high theatricality, mediated violence and the numbness it produces... " -NYtheatre.com

"Art and terrorism make a gruesome twosome in this contemporary noir drama of intrigue and roadkill... [Callaghan's] conceit is apt: art as an agent of political change is more possibly relevant than ever in these dark times. And (spoiler alert) the reveal is worth the price of admission." -Flavorpill.com

"No playwright feels more current than Sheila Callaghan... The ultra-cool provocateur plays a cat-and-mouse game... [with] heady themes [and] cool tone... Roadkill Confidential isn't just arid intellectualism. Callaghan has a sick sense of wit ... and a sly fondness for big action movie plots... the hip theatergoer shouldn't miss this cool work." -New York Metro Mix

"Roadkill Confidential by Sheila Callaghan, is a play about art and guilt... in the final analysis, Ms. Callaghan's portrayal of [an] essentially human paradox is well done, and the ending... is tragic and satisfying." -Culturalcapitol.com

"...crystalline moments of great writing... Roadkill Confidential captures the sudden, unexpected danger of dire situations... [we] relish in moments of goofy truth that are utterly delicious." -Culturebot

"... raw, unusual, and exciting. Roadkill Confidential fits that mold, lightly borrowing from the narrative conventions of a noir flick to examine the intersections of art and violence... The show is funny, original, and intriguing... Callaghan uses a lot of illusion-shattering tricks in her script... Roadkill Confidential is a work of art... " -That Sounds Cool Blog

"Trevor is the stereotypical tortured and misunderstood artist, unable to satisfyingly connect with her lover or anyone else. In real life such people tend to be tiresome, but Trevor... is written and played so well (by Sheila Callaghan and Rebecca Henderson respectively) that she's unceasingly interesting to watch... " -Show Showdown Blog

"...an intriguing new play... [a] tense comedy-drama about the blurred line between media and message, art and life." -Blogcritics.org

"Each moment in Roadkill Confidential is exquisitely crafted, stunning in both its heady intellectual content and its vivid, vibrant theatrical construction... it's all crystal clear and compelling, with a dry macabre sense of humor... if you like intellectually compelling and skillfully crafted theatre you should totally see it... " -Theatreiseasy.com

"Sheila Callaghan's Roadkill Confidential is a charged collision of two, three, or maybe infinitely more, worlds... The real treat is the jungle gym of language on which [the characters] play. It is at once pipe-strong and improvisational, propulsive and obtuse, irreverent and heroic... Callaghan perfectly supports the layers of this spicy delight with balanced notes that provide a full bodied, mysterious, and intoxicating potion." -deanpoyner.com

"Callaghan has a wonderfully smart-aleck sensibility." -Chicago Tribune

"On the surface, Roadkill Confidential sounds like a thriller ripped straight from a CSI or X-Files episode or a big-budget Hollywood spy blockbuster. In many ways, it is, with its espionage procedures and tense escalations. But it is much more... A dark levity balances the tense proceedings, allowing for laughs followed by pin-drop intensity." -Chicago Journal

"Marvelous... striking... beautiful.... [Callaghan's] dialogue and situations are colorful, amusing and spicy... a triumph." -Windy City Times

"This is a very challenging play, in part because it forces us to confront some of the more unsavory aspects of the world... weird. Really, really weird." -Gapers Block

"Rising playwright Sheila Callaghan's smart, noirish script, with its poetic language and creepy characters... is amusing and appropriately weird." -Backstage West

"At what point does creative freedom collide with moral accountability? Sheila Callaghan's bleakly sardonic Roadkill Confidential at Son of Semele Theater poses the question in uniquely unsettling terms." -LA Times

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LASCIVIOUS SOMETHING

"Passion, the loin-driven kind, powers Sheila Callaghan's Lascivious Something... [there is] something wild held uneasily in check... desire, violence, myth, and poetry always lurk just underneath." -The Village Voice

Lascivious Something "produces its own special shocks... [with] a creepily otherworldly and oversexed air... profoundly disturbing, totally unreal and... meaningful... " Time Out New York

"Playwright Sheila Callaghan has scripted some passionate duplicate scenarios in [Lascivious Something]... [it] is definitely worth spending an undeniably tense evening with [this play], right through an unexpected twist at the end."-Huffington Post

"It's possible to get a little tipsy from Sheila Callaghan's heady language in Lascivious Something, ... an intoxicating investigation into failed love and dashed activist aspirations [that] proves to be a charismatic blend of arrogance, wistful dissipation, and sensuality... " -Backstage

"In the hands of most playwrights, Lascivious Something would be a straightforward, tightly constructed three-character piece about a marriage fractured by the return of an old flame... But Sheila Callaghan isn't most playwrights--she has a much more intricate theatrical imagination, beautifully channeled here... it's a rich, complicated, thought-provoking piece of writing... one that I'm still thinking about... Lascivious Something effectively mines the "what-ifs" and the dark currents inside the stories we tell ourselves, and the choices we make." -NYtheatre.com

Lascivious Something is "a poetically stunning, emotionally satisfying, and deeply physical play... grounded in an intense need... it is [Sheila Callaghan's] richest, most powerful play yet... and with heavy doses of comedy... enchanting the audience with the coupling of romantic language and bullish frankness... [the play is] present, hopeful, alive, and crackling under the audience's skin... there are moments so charged with feeling... that it's as if our breath has been stolen... " -That Sounds Cool Blog

"[Lascivious Something] is amazing, an awkward love parallelogram... subtle and challenging... this is a beautiful production... [my wife and I] are still talking about it." -Mark D. Ransom, Blogger

"Sheila Callaghan rewrites Greek tragedy for 21st century America: failed idealism, economic collapse, sexual confusion reign... [with] erotic tension from the robust chemistry... this is the kinkiest show of the season. The conversations are ripe and juicy... Pleasure's the wrong word for such a strong show. Lascivious Something sucks the breath from your lungs with its depth, complexity, and weight." -New York City Metromix

"Callaghan, whose previous work might be described as post-feminist punk incursions into the poetic turf of early Sam Shepard, here employs a more linear narrative line to push her personal-is-political agenda... But the real fireworks are in the two women's predatory tug o' war that plays like a Western showdown." -LA Weekly

"Sheila Callaghan has created a great premise and fascinating characters, her writing intertwining wine and blood and sex as painful but necessary life forces... real fireworks... incisive language." -Backstage (critic's pick)

"Sheila Callaghan's Lascivious Something, presented by Circle X, achieves its mythic ambitions to a surprising degree... It's as if the beating sun and all the booze consumed were making our heads spin as well as the characters." -Variety

"Callaghan has a keen sense of language as an act of aggression... compelling." -LA Times

"Sheila Callaghan shares all the characteristics of the Irish writers we view with shuddering awe: Conor Macpherson, Martin McDonagh, Martina Carr. Vivid language, panting eroticism, and a quarrelsome sense of the universe." -Curtain Up

"Lascivious Something exudes a haunting exoticism bordering on the magical." -LAist

"Sheila Callaghan's sensually provocative new play, like a fine wine must be inhaled, swished about upon reflection and savored slowly to enjoy all the richness in this full-bodied dramedy.... this is a brave, new work by an exciting writer and a show that should not be missed unless you're a priggish teetotaler or have a heart condition." -eyespyla

"Lascivious Something [is] a steamy play full of sexual tension, startling storytelling and elements of Greek tragedy swirling around in the messy mix... Violence and lust play out in a smattering of scenes... [and] in the able hands of Callaghan, the device unearths gloriously raw, primal emotional states." -My Daily Find

"This sultry, seething, sometimes seedy production is never quite what you would expect... Sometimes dreamlike, often shocking, Lascivious Something is at once both fraught and languorous, its most powerful moments found in the quietest revelations or silent stares." -The Collective Magazine

"A beautifully tragic play written by Sheila Callaghan, Lascivious Something playfully balances sanity with insanity. As the grape vines tended so lovingly by August, the characters intertwine delicately fiercely fighting for love and freedom." -socal.com

"What Eugene O'Neill long sought in his many experiments using psychological inner voices to reveal motivation, Callaghan has perfected here.... the collective result reminds us how dependent we may be on the approbation of our loved ones for our psychological well-being. It is both unsettling and cathartic." -stagehappenings

"[A} remarkably sexy show... a heady, atmospheric, meandering yet intellectually stimulating drama from a writer frequently, and quite aptly, described as a post-feminist poet... a sensual, beautiful, linguistically pleasing Mediterranean air permeates the whole... one moment you're convinced you're watching a bunch of self-involved egotists in a pretentious setting and, a few minutes later, you're wondering what happened to your own glass of wine." -Chicago Tribune

"Provocative, absorbing and sometimes enthralling, this is theatre you won't forget... The sexual tension of this love triangle is riveting but the show is much more than soap opera. These are some strange people to spend two hours with, but they're also extremely intelligent and captivating." -Center Stage Chicago

"..outsized bad decisions from deeply flawed characters, combined with unknown information make for eye-popping, head-spinning catastrophe... the poetry of Callaghan's script carries audience members through. It's truly lovely to listen to. The tragic fireworks at the end will catch you by sad surprise." -New City Stage

"Sheila Callaghan's intricately woven drama doesn't waste any time... so many startling revelations... a cruel, beautiful set of relationships that could come straight out of Aeschylus." -Chicago Reader

"Lascivious Something is something lascivious. Never soap operatic, always engrossing. It is full-bodied with a strong finish. It will have you lusting after a glass of their legendary wine and leave you will a bittersweet aftertaste." -Chicago Now

"...a night of great performances and a tightly written plot filled with twists and turns.... just the right amount of drama and mystery to suck you in..." -Chicago Theater Beat

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FEVER/DREAM

"The author of such risky, visionary scripts as That Pretty Pretty; or, the Rape Play and the caustically lyrical Crumble (Lay Me Down, Justin Timberlake), Callaghan here takes a more workmanlike approach, devising two-plus hours' worth of ingenious parallels with Calderon's original." -The Washington Post

"[Callaghan] has a keen eye for the outlandish...[Fever/Dream] exudes the kind of infectious zaniness that occasionally attracts cult followings." -Variety

"Fever/Dream is a pizzazz-filled concoction that skewers corporatism with a generous supply side of laughs... comically irreverent... [Callaghan] is without doubt the purveyor of top-shelf American wit, not just in one-liners but also in concept. Even better, Callaghan is what I would dub a crossover playwright; she writes as aptly from the male point of view as she does from the female -- and that alone is a rarity." -Metro Weekly

"...fiendishly funny skewering of corporate culture... The wit of Miss Callaghan's dialogue is so delightfully on-target" -The Washington Times

"Witheringly comic examination of corporate bureaucracy... something like a theatrical perpetual motion machine... Manic in the best way possible." -Express Night Out

"The theme of corporate entitlement couldn't resonate any better with a city weary of bankruptcies, bailouts, and bonuses." -Decider DC

"An uproarious update..." -Washington City Paper

"Language is important to Callaghan.... Fever/Dream provides plenty to think about and lots of laughs." -Curtain Up

"A frolic, but with bite... a solid night out that will make you laugh while it mirrors your own struggles." -welovedc.com

"Playwright Sheila Callaghan gives us an hilarious play that pops the American corporate blimp.... [She] staples together outwardly nonsensical dialogue by anchoring Fever/Dream to Calderon's plot and characters." -dctheatrescene.com

"I can't remember the last time a play made me laugh so hard. Leaving the theater, my friend and I found ourselves overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of memorable one-liners. Between the chuckles and belly laughs, the dialog is surprisingly layered, and gives the audience plenty to think about... Fever/Dream is about as funny as the sharpest Hollywood comedy, and far more rewarding." -brightestyoungthings.com

"Author Sheila Callaghan is dead-set on taking roundhouse whacks at the rapacious monstrosities that corporations in this country have become. And she hits her mark... dazzling bursts of imagination..." -Scene Magazine

"...skewers corporate America while addressing the dreams and realities of these uneasy economic times... you'll have to see the play to experience the unreal fairy tale ending.... a thought-provoking piece." -CoolCleveland.com

"...a unique theatrical experience... familiar and relevant... a very entertaining new comedy.... Fever/Dream is a dark, yet humorous, look at today's working world: low pay, under appreciated employees, and yes, corporate greed." -What Locals Like About Cleveland Plus

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THAT PRETTY PRETTY; OR, THE RAPE PLAY

"Raunchy, savvy... the twisted, caffeinated world of the show imagines the collective unconscious of a culture where girls never stop going wild... [Callaghan] push(es) her audience's buttons with an aggressive treatment of some of the darker corners of the human psyche." -The New York Times

"Funny, scary, messy, and forthrightly feminist." -Village Voice

"A submersion in the anarchy of ambivalence: variously a rant, a riff, a rumble-about our notions of naturalism, objectification, perversity, and beauty... There's sass and sarcasm in Callaghan's high-energy punk writing." -John Lahr, The New Yorker

"Mind-blowing images and soul-crushing language flowing wildly." -Backstage

"Offbeat satirical comedy... outrageous, intelligent fun..." -Variety

"Sheila Callaghan seems to have put third-wave feminism, Gen-Y gender confusion and macho writerly cliches in a blender set to high speed. Her manic, angry, deftly constructed That Pretty Pretty; or, the Rape Play whipsaws between laughs and squirms as Callaghan trawls the mucky depths of male-constructed femininity." -TimeOut NY

"This is one of the most fun, most seemingly random, and most high-energy shows I've ever seen. I laughed out loud more than I do at stand-up comedy routines, and I could not have predicted anything that happened to save my life (which is a good thing)." -Curtain Up

"The play constantly shifts our perceptions of what's 'real' inside its own play-world, what we take for granted and then are forced to reconsider. The more Callaghan seems to be stripping down, stylistically, to a conventional form of theatrical realism, the more the play traffics in-and mocks-utterly familiar conventions....Callaghan's work tends to be linguistically dense, thick with lyric, metaphor- and image-packed prose." -nytheatre.com

"Offers a refreshingly honest and modern take on some incredibly relevant issues surrounding women, misogyny, male fantasy, war, and female representations in art and culture...funny, and sad, and horrific, and thoughtful." -www.citylitnyc.com

"Rarely does a play have the effect of pure explosion. That Pretty Pretty is a Carnivale of hairbands, feminist angst, male hormones and pop culture references, all peppered with a healthy dose of Jane Fonda...This play has ambition. And dare I say it, balls." -dailyobsessional.blogspot.com

"The clever juxtaposition of art film mores alongside crappy revisionism of the 80's reveals that misogyny takes forms both highbrow and low. And then, to have all the delicious absurdity of the play coming through the keystrokes of a violently misogynist twenty something was just...yes. Yes, yes, yes." -myinflammatorywrit.com

"This disturbing, provoking and brain stretching piece deals with the subject of women's voices in media. It questions the portrayal of women in an industry and a world where our images are distorted and manipulated primarily by men and it does so in a way that draws in the audience and plays with the convention of theatre itself." -Therapidity.blogspot.com

"Woooeeee... Just when you thought you were so downtown, so shockproof, so cool, along comes a show that really shocks. And it shocks purposefully. And it's funny. And it's a chance to see five knockout performances by some very brave actors under Joe Canuso's masterful direction." -Philadelphia Inquirer

"At last, a genuine mind-blowing theater experience....we are left dumbstruck -- and dizzyingly alive." -Philadelphia City Paper

That Pretty Pretty; or, the Rape Play "emerges as an effective attack on misogyny and violence, and a provocative look at gender and identity." -Philadelphia Weekly

"More questions are raised than answered, and in its weird and rough way the play is radiant with ideas... You have to see it to believe it." -Curtain Up

"Sheila Callaghan's That Pretty Pretty; or, the Rape Play will blow you away... it's a vital and powerful piece of playwriting." -Talkin' Broadway

"Tonight's performance... had the juice, chutzpah, guts, gall, audacity, and, forgive a chauvinistic term, 'balls,' to make you squirm, gasp, giggle and laugh as it hammered its message home... Sheila Callaghan's That Pretty Pretty is entertaining, thinking, well-meaning and gritty performance art. It has moments of brilliance, lots of them... -Stage Magazine

"A maddeningly fast paced expose on how an evening at the theatre could resemble an evening surfing the internet... juicy, biting, precise language... a very relevant piece of work... -Angry Patrons Blog

"That Pretty Pretty is a raucous and bawdy show that drags you along for a bumpy ride and offers no apologies. It's a fun piece of theater that works your brain and embodies today's never-ending media stream." -uwishunu.com

"Sheila Callaghan's dark comedy... isn't for the faint of heart... [it] boils into complicated, penetrating portrayal of gender relations in our supposedly modern, forward-thinking society- and the picture it paints ain't all that pretty." -Culturemob Blog

"Sheila Callaghan's blacker-than-black comedy, That Pretty Pretty; Or, The Rape Play, ... is practically flawless... " Chicago Tribune

"Blending sexual violence, blizzards of pop-culture references and meta-meta-narrative into a bitter, frothy brew, That Pretty Pretty; Or, The Rape Play plunges gleefully into [its] trashy, excessive theatricality... this energetic take [brings] across the hysterical, candy-coated surfaces of the playwright's pop nightmare." -Time Out Chicago

"A non-stop macabre funhouse in this blood-spurting Midwest Premiere. While the topics of rape, the objectification of women and misogynistic violence are not fun; the distorted funhouse mirrors that Callaghan shows them through make for startlingly silly scenes... There's a lot of meat to the subtext of Callaghan's mad-capped treatise... profound fearlessness and fascinating focus... dark, daring and delightful... That Pretty Pretty; Or, The Rape Play will provide you with a ferocious feast." -Chicago Stage Review

"An eccentric, angry, daring, profane, sometimes wildly funny comic drama about a pair of blood-thirsty sisters on a murderous rampage... " -The Chicago Reader

"This is a show that forces you to see things you don't want to see, and think things you don't want to think, wrapped up in a darkly comedic and unrelentingly graphic package. That Pretty Pretty is a brave show, for playwright, actors, director, crew, and audience--truly stunning, in the most literal sense of the word." -Baltimore City Paper

"There's painful humor at every painful turn... The incongruity of reassuring tone and horrific actions is unique in my theatergoing experience..." -Baltimore Broadway World

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WE ARE NOT THESE HANDS

"The gap between rich and poor yawns so wide it aches in Sheila Callaghan's 'We Are Not These Hands,' but much of the ache is from laughter... 'Hands' is a comically engaging, subversively penetrating look at the human cost of unbridled capitalism on both sides of the river... The anger of the play's social vision is partly concealed by its copious humor, emerging more forcefully after it's over... 'Hands' bristles with bright, comic originality, particularly in depicting the limitations of its people." -San Francisco Chronicle

"Bold and engaging, "We Are Not These Hands" is as fun as it is frightening... rich in detail and full of humor and pathos." -Oakland Tribune

"Fascinating material by this intriguing New York playwright." -Backstage

"Quirkily compelling... [Callaghan's] attacking much larger ideas about economics, politics, the discrepancy between global haves and have-nots, and the exoticization of the other. And once again she manages to get her jabs in while offering up weirdly engaging characters... Whimsical and daring... subversively smart." -East Bay Express

"Callaghan's characters reflect a set of tensions, affinities, and contradictions as they negotiate love and survival that speak fluently of their mutual alienation from a half-illusory world of winners... a satisfying mix of the satirical, madcap, and bizarre... a nicely original creation, broadly absurd yet also shaded by a deep ambivalence." -San Francisco Bay Guardian

"Compelling... The 'have/have-not' dilemma that most U.S. tourists are exposed to is not easily solved, and Callaghan is engaging and not overbearing in dramatizing this divide." -San Francisco Weekly

"A sense of wonder, both childlike and eccentric..." -Berkeley Daily Planet

"So much utopian strength and poetry..." -Suddeutsche Zeitung

"Swaggering eccentricity... Callaghan takes a lavish mud bath in broken language...ripe apocalyptic slang; at its best, it's racy and unrefined, the kind of stuff you might imagine kids in the back alleys of a decaying world might sling around." -The Washington Post

"Like many young playwrights, Callaghan is interested in language, and in particular words of loss and powerlessness. Moth and Belly speak in a sort of invented Clockwork Orangish type dialect that allows them to avoid nuance and specificity...intriguing and provocative." -DC Theatre Reviews

"We Are Not These Hands wrestles with some big and potentially disturbing ideas...bracingly honest." -Washington City Paper

"Willfully turning convention upside down... compelling." -Read Express

"Masterful handiwork... touching..." -Daily Colonial

"An abundance of interesting ideas and innovative twists... moments of real power, as well as passages of dialogue as stunning as they are hilarious... Callaghan is a very talented writer, full of anger as well as an obvious desire to encompass the fractured realities of a media-saturated, postindustrial world economy and its ramifications for those most ignored and forgotten by it. She's got the chops to do it, too." -Seattle Weekly

"Sheila Callaghan's We Are Not These Hands feels like something Caryl Churchill might have written--after dipping her quill in the blood of Neil LaBute. Callaghan's poetic one-act, in its local premiere with Right Brain Project, lashes together fractured language that veers between the brutal and the childlike, reminiscent of Churchill's The Skriker. And her portrait of transactional sexual politics is reminiscent of, well, nearly everything LaBute has done. But the result is a hypnotic, defiantly opaque--and surprisingly tender--portrait of the endgame of globalization and rampant consumerism." -Chicago Tribune

"We Are Not These Hands is a riveting futuristic fantasy about wanting more or less... The dialogue immediately engages. It's a combination of grammatically incorrect and colorfully imaginative." -Chicago Theatre Beat

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DEAD CITY

"Wonderful... Sheila Callaghan's pleasingly witty and theatrical new drama that is a love letter to New York masquerading as hate mail... [Callaghan] writes with a world-weary tone and has a poet's gift for economical description. The entire dead city comes alive..." -New York TImes

"DEAD CITY, Sheila Callaghan's riff on James Joyce's ULYSSES is stylish, lyrical, fascinating, occasionally irritating, and eminently worthwhile... the kind of work that is thoroughly invigorating." -Backstage

"Sheila Callaghan surprises with an understandably sprawling but always interesting narrative... It's an adventurous riff on [ULYSSES] with an especially well-rounded and human character at play's center... at once realistic and fanciful." -Variety

"[DEAD CITY] dissects the line between brilliance and just plain ol' crazy, blurring it even further... impressive." -Village Voice

"Gutsy... [Callaghan's] prosaic voiceovers have it right... we glimpse how Joyce's wanderer once persueded readers that the internal landscape is the one worth exploring." -TimeOut NY (Critic's Pick)

"While [ULYSSES] provides the inspiration for this wonderful work, the play stands on its own as a detailed and moving portrait of contemporary life in New York City." -Theatremania.com

"Joyce would have gone to town with the bizarre sounds and phrases from our internetsoaked, fast-food-stuffed, fifteen-minutes-of-fame world, as the many remarkable scenes in this play show it's possible to do. There are some storyline parallels with Ulysses, but more important in the inspiration department is the way Callaghan picks up on and makes effective new use of the combination of narrative sincerity and silliness, wonder and cynicism, panorama and detail, that put ULYSSES in a class of its own. DEAD CITY is very different, of course, but the shared underlying engagement with language and the flow of modern life makes it a similarly vibrant and frequently arresting creation." -Gothamist

"Well-written, original plays are not a regular part of New York's theatrical landscape. It's a delightful surprise when one appears, even if it's a revision of an already published work. Yet it's dismissive to think of DEAD CITY as just another link in a historical chain. Sheila Callaghan's play is a unique and completely contemporary bit of magic." -Offoff Online

"Callaghan's script provides a fresh and inventive variation on the classic theme of alienation in the big city. Her female characters have a vibrant, tragicomic presence. A compelling ride..." -Showbusiness Weekly

"The play assumes on its own, enchanting logic... as the locations change and the characters flit around town, we arrive at [the characters'] central struggle: being understood in a world in which we are often not heard, or choose not to say what is on our minds. In the end, how they move beyond this emotional stasis will move you, too." -Downtown Express

"A thrilling theatrical trip...awe-inspiring." -Flavorpill

"DEAD CITY valiantly succeeds in capturing the random swirl of Joyce's onerous urban landscape, illustrating how a single day of navigating its perils can be an adventure that reinvigorates the soul...fascinatingly potent." -Gay City News

"Ambitious... [Callaghan] has a fondness for heightened, poetic language..." -nytheatre.com

"For a hundred minutes, the city becomes like an oyster filled with infinite pearls... Callaghan has created a fluid, lyrical world that riffs on reality as if it were jazz." -New Theatre Corps

"Outstanding work by Sheila Callaghan... wildly imaginative, and beautifully physical, however uncomfortable... a smartly written, sharp, and witty script." -Los Angeles Examiner

"Callaghan is not a playwright to dismiss... [she] has real insight and a grasp on modernity - with all its obsessions and melancholiness - that few playwrights harness with such alacrity." -Chicago Tribune

"Swifter and sexier than Joyce..." -Chicagoist (Top 6 of 2006)

"Weirdly funny and haunting... a jagged stage poem." -TimeOut Chicago

"Fleet, funny and smart." -Center Stage Chicago

"...deliciously zany humor and surreal aesthetic... [Callaghan's] brilliant. " -The Washington Post

"... surreal, allusive work... haunting, gorgeously realized... funny and weirdly unsettling... " -Washington City Paper

"Callaghan mixes the real world with the surreal in a manner that keeps the character and the audience off-balance in an interesting fashion. It's the kind of play where you are not overly surprised when a dead character speaks... Sheila Callaghan is one of the brightest young playwrights on the American scene. The wit and lyrical language in this play are fascinating. " -DC Theatre Scene

"Callaghan's work stands on its own....not quite magical realism, but something close to it...there's no questioning its exuberance. Callaghan's writing is feverish and bumpy." -Weekly Dig

"Smartly observed comedy...a poignant and ironic take on midlife." Star Tribune

"Callaghan is a witty writer, with a fine sense for the desperately absurd." - TwinCities.com

"What balls! What beauty! Someone give her my number." -rakemag.com

"Explosions of words, thoughts, lights, sounds and images surge into view, glitter for a moment and then fade to black, readying the stage for the next explosion...exuberant." -City Beat

"A funky, feminist, 21st-century riff...fun, messy, smart." -Cincinnati Enquirer

"Deft, poignant and funny." -Columbus Dispatch

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CRUMBLE (Lay Me Down, Justin Timberlake)

"This whimsically eloquent view of a widow, her daughter and their anthropomorphic apartment, all bereft and bonkers, is a potent example of postmodern narrative invention... Ionesco never blended absurdity, terror and sentiment more strikingly... [a] sweetly audacious parable... Callaghan's breakthrough work." -Los Angeles Times (Critic's Pick)

"[A] gothic comedy which balances wit and kitsch with scars and wounds, while wielding a preteen's sense of morbidity and drama to strike some chilling blows." -LA Weekly (Recommended)

"Soon-to-be classic... whatever you do, don't miss it... amazing..." -Entertainment Today

"The idiomatic fusion of gravitas and whimsy that distinguishes playwright Sheila Callaghan's oeuvre crystallized in her breakthrough play about the extremes to which grief can drive the bereaved... It's a singularly original, deceptively oddball property.... a striking, uniquely affecting work." -Backstage West

"Here's Sheila Callaghan at her best in this delightfully warped one-act... [an] important and unstoppable new writer." -Reviewplays

"Sheila Callaghan's breakout play... very twisted, very funny..." -LA Downtown News (from the 'Don't Miss List')

"Crafty, eccentric, spikily poetic... a compellingly steely comic riff on pain... Callaghan's story tells of a world of fluke accidents and terrible scarrings, where kinship dynamics are about as reliable as nitroglycerine." - The Washington Post

"Small, dark, and gratifyingly odd." - Washington City Paper

"Crumble is a beautifully written play that manages to walk that fine line between the experimental and the accessible. Sad without seeking pity, funny without pandering, Callaghan's is a refreshing talent." - MetroWeekly

"[Crumble] draws an astute and affecting portrait of two sisters; the preteen daughter/niece whose mercurial moods and needs whet their differences; and the ways in which inanimate objects can serve as a silent sounding board for their, and by extension, our unarticulated fears and desires, and as a springboard to help us identify and at last, deal with them." -DC Theatre Scene

"This tiny morsel of a play allows the dialogue to sing rather than be stuffed." - Potomac Stages

"An unexpected jolt of good theater... Without resorting to sap, [Callaghan] conjures real emotional pathos... a dark, screwed-up version of Judy Blume." -New City Chicago (Tip of the Week, Top 5 of '05)

"Moments of nail-biting anguish... weirdly satisfying... Callaghan's writing is studded with startling descriptive passages." -Chicago Tribune (Top 10 "fringe" shows of '05)

"[Callaghan] understands that theater is the ideal place in which to explore nonrealistic notions... original... intriguing... as off-kilter as the playwright's imagination." -Chicago Sun Times (Recommended)

"Feverishly ambitious... undeniable heart..." -TimeOut Chicago

"Heightened language and acid humor.... if of the 'I must laugh or I shall never stop screaming' variety..." -East Bay Express

"An unflinching look at the power of grief... rooted, real and recognizable in its depiction of adolescent angst and awakening." -Inside Bay Area

"This is an amazing script, one I want to get my hands on and read again and again. It's touching, bittersweet, brutally honest at times, and freakishly surreal at others... This is not a fluffy show, nor is it depressing. It is thought provoking." -East Bay Voice

"Sheila Callaghan's allegorical Crumble (Lay Me Down, Justin Timberlake) demonstrates the power of... dark humor... Crumble is worth seeing." -Broad Street Review

"Crumble is about the way we react to grief... it focuses on that erosion [and] it can be emotionally provoking." -Austin Chronicle

"Crumble is so immersive that it's often easy to forget that you're watching a play at all - an unusual (and magical) experience...don't miss the chance to catch this genuinely thought-provoking show... " -The Austinist

"Written by Sheila Callaghan, a playwright known for her poetic language and an unconventional approach to narrative... [Crumble] is no cheap horror story or bizarre experimental piece; it's a darkly comedic play about survival and how to cope with the wreckage of catastrophe."-Austin360.com

"A wacky and surreal work, [an] engaging play that confounds expectations and... is certainly worthy of your attention, particularly if you like things that are quirky and offbeat...funny and surprisingly moving... " -St. Louis Broadway World

Crumble "kick[s] reality to the corner... characters [have] a chance to go to extremes that, though absurd in real life, make genuine emotional sense...[and] offer[s] theatergoers a chance to step out of the mainstream." -St. Louis Today

Crumble "instills a buoyant sense of Chekhovian storytelling to a tale that is...constantly compelling... in 70 painful, yet absorbing minutes" -Riverfront Times

Crumble "is just what the script doctor ordered...there are so many shows to see right now that's it's hard to choose among them, but I think Crumble should be at the top of any theatre lover's list." -The Vital Voice

"Crumble is a deeply felt, thrillingly theatrical play... Callaghan's evocative dialogue--with a quietly mesmerizing...elegiac tone... is not to be missed." -Baltimore Broadway World

"New York playwright Sheila Callaghan's Crumble (Lay Me Down, Justin Timberlake) squarely hits... a delicate balance of madcap comedy and nearly unbearable psychological damage... Tragic comedy gold... It invites--and gets--you to laugh at childhood traumas and somehow makes you empathize with an apartment...a subversively entertaining experience." -Baltimore City Paper

"There's a decidedly creepy streak...in Sheila Callaghan's "Crumble (Lay Me Down, Justin Timberlake)," and that edginess -- make that cutting-edginess -- is explored effectively in the Baltimore debut of a work by the New York-based Callaghan [who] devises a whole new, weird context for them."-Baltimore Sun

"There is nothing typical about this play... Callaghan astutely weaves the outright fantasy material into what's otherwise an ordinary family drama scenario... [Crumble has] heartfelt concerns that are no laughing matter by the end." -Howard County Times

"There's a decidedly creepy streak...in Sheila Callaghan's "Crumble (Lay Me Down, Justin Timberlake)," and that edginess -- make that cutting-edginess -- is explored effectively in the Baltimore debut of a work by the New York-based Callaghan [who] devises a whole new, weird context for them."-Baltimore Sun

"Widely considered one of America's finest contemporary playwrights, Callaghan uses an intentionally disorienting framework that blends reality with fantasy, imbuing it all with dark humor...A stunningly original piece... Crumble's central theme is likely to hold together, regardless of whether Justin Timberlake or Justin Bieber grace today's magazine covers." -Minneapolis City Pages

Crumble had the audience "... shivering in reaction to the heartfelt and raw prose... a modern masterpiece..." -Twin Cities Daily Planet

"...This is the most extraordinary show I have seen in a long time. Absurdity spiced with humor accompanied by rich colorful characters cover a slow simmering tragedy that touches your heart and tickles your brain." -Audience Review, Minnesotaplaylist.com

"This is one of those shows that you will be proud to talk about afterward and that you will be disappointed you missed... If you do just one good thing for yourself this week, make this emotionally fulfilling show your priority..." -Audience Review, Minnesotaplaylist.com

"A perfect script with twists of language that moved from laugh out loud to heartbreaking in a second. Smart, funny, brilliant. One of the best new plays I have ever seen..." -Audience Review, Minnesotaplaylist.com

"Crumble (Lay Me Down, Justin Timberlake) is another example of why I love theatre... [it] will not disappoint..." -Audience Review, Minnesotaplaylist.com

"Go see this show... Big idea, big set, big heart, big impact. The show is funny when it needs to be funny, serious when it needs to be serious... startling script work on many levels..." -Audience Review, Minnesotaplaylist.com

"Very few plays have ever affected me the way that Crumble (Lay Me Down, Justin Timberlake) has... [It] is a powerful play that manages to find some laughs along the way... this script creates lightning... confounding, stimulating, intriguing... every moment crackles... Do yourself a favor and go see [Crumble]–and take your friends." -John Porter, WCVE 88.9FM

In Sheila Callaghan's poignantly short dramedy, Crumble (Lay Me Down, Justin Timberlake) at Firehouse Theatre Project...there is a delightful balance of tragedy and comedy." -Richmond Times-Dispatch

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CRAWL, FADE TO WHITE

"[Callaghan's] a gutsy writer with a gift for creating vivid images rooted in the emotional life of her characters." - The New York Times

"Engagingly quirky... as far as playwrights unpacking complex ideas, Callaghan provides a shining example." - TimeOut NY

"Callaghan is a sensuous writer, interested in texture, sound, shape." - Village Voice

"True to the denials, insanities, and backward glances that constitute psychic wounds refusing to scab over." - New Theater Corps

"It is unusual enough to interest the veteran theatergoer, accessible to the casual viewer, and not to be missed." --offoffonline.com

"Well-constructed, well-executed, and it showcases a dedication to theatricality and craft." - The L Magazine

"Sheila's work often has this uncanny ability to reach inside me and unlock a tiny door I'd forgotten about. And once it's open I feel like I can breathe a little easier, think a little freer, and write a little crazier." -Alejandro Morales, lowercaseletter.wordpress.com

"A flair for the peculiar distinguishes playwright Sheila Callaghan... [she finds] raw emotion under the deadpan uproar... 'Crawl' has arresting elegance." -Los Angeles Times (Recommended)

"Sheila Callaghan takes us through the looking glass into a play with surreal plot developments... a strange-but-touching study of estrangement, loneliness and reconciliation." -LA Weekly (Recommended)

"Callaghan's dialogue is sharp and bizarrely incisive, surely heralding another step in the evolution of a great contemporary playwright." -Entertainment Today

"The brilliance of Sheila Callaghan's play and a lesson to every aspiring writer is that she takes a mother-daughter conflict, dissects it, probes every aspect with jewel-like precision, incorporates flashbacks, contrasts it with frightened surreal neighbors -- then presents the results in 90 taut minutes structured with the lyric prose of a poem. This densely layered play raises as many questions as it answers but it's a quirky delight. " -CurtainUp

"Exceptional... a remarkable achievement that makes me realize how fortunate we all are to be beneficiaries of the haunted souls of tortured artists in general--and possibly Callaghan in particular..." -Reviewplays

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KATE CRACKERNUTS

"There's a wild terrain of words in this playwright's head... fantastical... a primal psychological crucible..." -The Village Voice

"Callaghan's wordplay is evocative and apt..." -TimeOut NY

"An off-beat adaptation... eclectic but well-constructed, inventive... energetic, fun, and funny!" -Offoffonline

"Strange, dense, brilliant wordplay... part poetry slam, part rave, part dog-eared storybook theater, and all edgy, infectious, ultra-theatrical entertainment. Kate Crackernuts is an adult fairy tale that, like its tough but vulnerable heroine, follows a warped dream logic while keeping its sharp-tongued wits about it." -Los Angeles Times (Critic's Pick)

"A new mythology for the 21st century... it's a great ride." -Backstage West (Critic's Pick)

"The tone is not intended to sound poetic, but to break the audience free from mundane reality and evoke the faraway dreaminess of myth." -The Arizona Republic

"[Sheila Callaghan's] flair for writing modern poetic prose cannot be topped. It is the most striking language I have heard on a stage in a long while." -theatermaven.com

"A pulsing dreamscape where fairy tale meets rave... Breathtaking, ingenious innovation." -The Trojan Horse

"Watching it is rather like viewing a Pablo Picasso exhibit - full of color, angles, movement, musicians - and if you must ask what this actually means, you've missed the show." -The Herald Times

"Wild, quirky, funny tale of quest and conquest... Kate Crackernuts is funny, it's also a little risque, and a bit touching." -WFIU Indiana

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SCAB

"SCAB... is a textbook example of promising work, written with a yen for interesting language and liberally salted with well-observed details of the lives of newly minted adults... the play shines." -The New York Times

"SCAB is an offbeat, comedic exploration of friendship, love, pain and healing ...the humor comes out naturally in the interaction between the contrasting roommates as well as in the outrageous portrayal of academic snobbery." -Backstage

"... Darkly funny forays into the surreal... Callaghan shows talent in the inventive fantasy sequences... A stylish production " -The Village Voice

"Sheila Callaghan crafts sparkling dialogue for two goofy graduate students in LA... romantic entanglements are added with wit, and sensitivity. A whip-smart play." -TimeOut NY (Critic's Pick)

"Rarely does a play give such an impression that the characters were alive long before I began watching them and continued with their lives after I went home... The plot is unusual without being implausible, the dialogue is intelligent while still sounding natural... I would watch this play again without hesitation." -offoffoff.com

"A provocative playwright who's just beginning to garner a national following, Callaghan creates work that's realistic and unpredictable, dark and funny, reassuring and disturbing." -Philadelphia Weekly

"...it's opposites-attract meets love-triangle, though Callaghan spices it up by bringing into this fray a heckling Virgin Mary statue, dark angels who play tiny musical instruments and relatives who poop their pants. This magical David Lynch-esque undertow sets "Scab" apart from others in this oeuvre. Where some plays are quirky, "Scab" is downright weird; where others give closure, Callaghan opens a wound." -Seattle Times

"...a fanciful comedy drama... novel and absorbing." -The Seattle Post Intelligencer

"The piece is beautifully written by Callaghan, whose ear for natural dialogue is superb... Intertwining painfully detailed scenes of intimacy with extravagant dream sequences featuring a foul-mouthed Virgin Mary and a pair of black-winged angels, Callaghan shows us that the women's path to self-realization is alternately difficult and joyous." -Theatremania

"Droll and ironic, Callaghan writes about young people believably and with intelligence.... full of big laughs." -The Oakland Tribune

"Intricately woven.... a thoughtful tale, darkly comic, intensely personal and worthy." -Contra Costa Times

"Wandering from the intimacy and hilarity of girl talk to the incoherent blather of academia to the intensity and illogic of Annie's neurosis, "Scab" is both an homage to the amusing banter that overlies our superficial daily existence and a look into the complicated tangle of emotions just beneath... wildly imaginative." -The Daily Cal

"...disarmingly poignant..." -Chicago Reader

"... unsparing black comedy... poignant..." -LA Weekly

"Brilliantly and poetically rendered... [Callaghan's] playful sense of language and her attunement to her characters are enthralling." -TimeOut Chicago

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