We Are Not These Hands.

Juliette Tanner and Cassie Beck in “We Are Not These Hands” at Crowded Fire Theatre. (photo credit unknown)


“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