John Patrick Shanley Analysis

Other Literary Forms

(Critical Edition of Dramatic Literature)

In addition to his dramatic works, John Patrick Shanley wrote screenplays, achieving considerable success with his first effort, Moonstruck, in 1987. He followed up with Five Corners (1988), The January Man (1989), Joe Versus the Volcano (1990), We’re Back! A Dinosaur’s Story (1993), Alive (1993), and Congo (1995). Several of Shanley’s plays have been developed into storybooks and novels.


(Critical Edition of Dramatic Literature)

For four consecutive seasons (1983-1986), John Patrick Shanley was selected for participation in the National Playwrights Conference at the Eugene O’Neill Memorial Theater Center. His autobiographical cycle of plays achieved initial success and built his reputation for off-beat, unconventional plays. Several of his plays have enjoyed commercial runs at theaters Off-Off-Broadway and at various theaters across the United States. Since 1988, he has also directed his own plays.

In film, Shanley has achieved even greater success. His screenplay for Five Corners was awarded the Special Jury Prize at the Barcelona Film Festival. His screenplay for Moonstruck won the Writer’s Guild Award, 1981, an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, 1987, and the Los Angeles Film Critics Award, 1987. He made his debut as a film director in Joe Versus the Volcano.


(Critical Edition of Dramatic Literature)

Johnson, Brian D. “Writing His Own Ticket.” Macleans 101 (1988): 40. Focuses on Shanley’s success in plays and films, his tough-guy stance acquired in the Bronx and his modest lifestyle. Shanley discusses his insistence on retaining control of his written material.

Kaplan, Eliot. “A Couple of White Guys Sitting Around Talking.” Gentleman’s Quarterly 60 (1990): 137-139. Kaplan referees a conversation between Shanley’s friend, comedian Eric Bogosian, and Shanley. Each discusses humor and where, for him, it comes from, what each person’s family made of him, and the folly of trying to please everyone.

Roberts, Polly. “Bard of the Bronx.” Harper’s Bazaar 121 (1988): 110-112. Details Shanley’s early life in the Bronx, his difficulty with education and family, and his road to success. Argues that Shanley’s plays about family dynamics are essentially his confrontations of his own parents.