Conor McShane

Conor McShane

Conor McShane is a Chicago-based playwright, actor, and musician. His full-length plays include Euphonia (Intrinsic Theatre Co. May Play Podcast 2020), Miss Expanding Universe (Williams Street Rep LAB Reading Series 2018), The Letter G (Coffee & Whiskey Productions Script Pub 2017), The Painted Staircase (Ann Arbor Art Center 2014), With One Little Stone (Renegade Theatre Festival 2014), and Takeoff (Fancy...
Conor McShane is a Chicago-based playwright, actor, and musician. His full-length plays include Euphonia (Intrinsic Theatre Co. May Play Podcast 2020), Miss Expanding Universe (Williams Street Rep LAB Reading Series 2018), The Letter G (Coffee & Whiskey Productions Script Pub 2017), The Painted Staircase (Ann Arbor Art Center 2014), With One Little Stone (Renegade Theatre Festival 2014), and Takeoff (Fancy Pants Theater 2013). His short plays include Umbrella Story (winner: best one-act, Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Region III; Public House Theatre's Twelve Ways to Play One-Act Festival 2015), Safe Keeping (Nothing Without a Company's New World Play Festival 2019), The Best Food on Earth (The Hot Dog Stand, Dandelion Theatre, 2016), ...And I Don't Feel Any Different (The Coat Check, Dandelion Theatre, 2015), and The Matrimony Experiment (Thorpedo Productions' Love in 90 Minutes, 2016; Tipping Point Theatre's Sandbox Short Play Festival 2014). He has written monologues for project BOUND dance and Prop Thtr. He is the co-founder of the monthly writing workshop the Wayword Writers Collective, and creator and host of First Time for Everyone, a podcast presenting writers' earliest works. He has also reviewed Chicago theatre productions for PerformInk and Chicago Stage Standard, and writes about horror movies for morbidlybeautiful.com. He lives in Chicago with his partner Leslie and their temperamental cat Cheena.

Plays

  • Euphonia
    The 1850s. German-born inventor Joseph Faber is unveiling the most recent version of his life's work: an incredibly sophisticated "talking machine." Capable of speaking any word in several languages, it's the most advanced machine of its kind. The only problem is, audiences are mostly indifferent or, at worst, actively hostile. So when Faber is approached by up-and-coming showman P.T....
    The 1850s. German-born inventor Joseph Faber is unveiling the most recent version of his life's work: an incredibly sophisticated "talking machine." Capable of speaking any word in several languages, it's the most advanced machine of its kind. The only problem is, audiences are mostly indifferent or, at worst, actively hostile. So when Faber is approached by up-and-coming showman P.T. Barnum with the chance to take his invention to London, he can't help but take the opportunity.
    The 1950s. A young woman named Allison struggles to settle into the life of a happy homemaker, a life she's not sure she even wants. Her husband doesn't understand her, doctors don't know what to do for her, and the specter of depression is ever-present.
    Euphonia charts these dual courses, weaving a narrative of unmatched expectations, familial love, and the struggle to be understood.
  • Miss Expanding Universe
    Seventeen year-old Amber thinks that running away from her stifling suburban life to the big, bad city of Chicago is going to solve all her problems. For her Uncle David, at whose apartment she arrives unexpectedly one night, the problems are just beginning. Over the course of several days, Amber and David engage in a battle of wills, as David tries to get Amber to open up about her real reasons for running away.
  • The Letter G
    "Uncle" Lou Taminski is the host of the long-running children's program Uncle Lou's Workshop, which has educated kids on how to build things for decades. But flagging ratings have forced Lou and his crew--including his daughter/producer Elizabeth--to try out all kinds of new ideas to breathe life into the show. But Lou's newest plan is the most daring of them all: come out as gay on...
    "Uncle" Lou Taminski is the host of the long-running children's program Uncle Lou's Workshop, which has educated kids on how to build things for decades. But flagging ratings have forced Lou and his crew--including his daughter/producer Elizabeth--to try out all kinds of new ideas to breathe life into the show. But Lou's newest plan is the most daring of them all: come out as gay on his show. This revelation comes as a surprise to pretty much everyone, Elizabeth included. As protests begin to pop up and pressures from the studio begin to mount, Lou and his crew must decide whether to back off or double down.
  • The Painted Staircase
    Everyone probably has an aunt like Janelle. Eccentric, well-meaning but critical, a failed painter; overall, she's an outsider in the family. But Caroline always viewed herself as a bit of an outsider too. Spending time with aunt Janelle is never easy, but after moving to New York City to pursue a career in architecture, it becomes a lot harder to avoid. Over an evening of wine and forced pedicures,...
    Everyone probably has an aunt like Janelle. Eccentric, well-meaning but critical, a failed painter; overall, she's an outsider in the family. But Caroline always viewed herself as a bit of an outsider too. Spending time with aunt Janelle is never easy, but after moving to New York City to pursue a career in architecture, it becomes a lot harder to avoid. Over an evening of wine and forced pedicures, Caroline learns more about her aunt than she ever knew before, as the two women discuss life, art, dreams, and failed relationships. The Painted Staircase is an empathetic portrait of two women at different crossroads in their lives: one who's given up, and one who's just getting started.
  • With One Little Stone
    Keith figured coming out to his parents would be no big deal. After all, a college professor and an artisan soap maker should be pretty liberal, right? As it turns out, while his mom, Fran, is supportive, his dad Terry is surprisingly ambivalent. Terry's reticence to accept his son's sexuality is surprising to Keith, Fran, and most of all, Terry himself. As he struggles to come to grips with his...
    Keith figured coming out to his parents would be no big deal. After all, a college professor and an artisan soap maker should be pretty liberal, right? As it turns out, while his mom, Fran, is supportive, his dad Terry is surprisingly ambivalent. Terry's reticence to accept his son's sexuality is surprising to Keith, Fran, and most of all, Terry himself. As he struggles to come to grips with his feelings, his hesitation threatens to drive a wedge between him and his son, as Keith starts dating Alan, a much older man. Can Terry and Keith come to a resolution before their relationship is ruined forever?
  • Takeoff
    Alice has a challenging relationship with her dad, Roger. Ever since her mom passed away, Roger's spent most of his time in his work shed, building inventions that inevitably end up falling apart. When she brings her new fiancé, Norm, back home to introduce him, Roger can't help but show off the newest thing he's been working on: a Personal Transportation Device (don't call it a jet pack...
    Alice has a challenging relationship with her dad, Roger. Ever since her mom passed away, Roger's spent most of his time in his work shed, building inventions that inevitably end up falling apart. When she brings her new fiancé, Norm, back home to introduce him, Roger can't help but show off the newest thing he's been working on: a Personal Transportation Device (don't call it a jet pack!). Will it fly, or will it end up on the reject pile like all the others? Will Alice and Roger be able to heal their relationship? Will Norm end up being killed accidentally in the process? Takeoff is a heartfelt dramedy about family, grief, and flying machines.
  • Safe Keeping
    A site-specific work written for Nothing Without a Company's 2nd Annual New World Play Festival, 2019. In the shade of two strange old trees, best friends Charlotte and Leo leave messages for their future selves. Little do they know these trees are presided over by The Steward, a mysterious caretaker who collects what's left in the trees' many hiding spots. Years later, Charlotte and Leo...
    A site-specific work written for Nothing Without a Company's 2nd Annual New World Play Festival, 2019. In the shade of two strange old trees, best friends Charlotte and Leo leave messages for their future selves. Little do they know these trees are presided over by The Steward, a mysterious caretaker who collects what's left in the trees' many hiding spots. Years later, Charlotte and Leo reunite to see whether or not their lives measure up to their younger dreams.
  • Umbrella Story
    Damien has grown up infatuated with the story of how his parents met: on a rainy day, they shared an umbrella, and it was love at first sight. Or was it? Damien's quest to have his own "Umbrella Moment" causes him to reject plenty of women along the way to true love, until a chance meeting with Margaret at a fruit stand may give Damien the fateful meeting he's been waiting for. But...
    Damien has grown up infatuated with the story of how his parents met: on a rainy day, they shared an umbrella, and it was love at first sight. Or was it? Damien's quest to have his own "Umbrella Moment" causes him to reject plenty of women along the way to true love, until a chance meeting with Margaret at a fruit stand may give Damien the fateful meeting he's been waiting for. But expectations are never quite like reality.
  • The Matrimony Experiment
    Paul and Vera are at the courthouse, waiting to get hitched. Only one problem: they've never met before. They've both signed on for a social experiment where strangers get married for a cash payout, and they're both just desperate enough to do it. But as they wait their turn, they get to know each other, and it gets harder to go through with their sham marriage.