You know the face from movies such as Clueless and The Princess Bride and he can be seen on the CW of all places as Cyrus Rose on the teen soap Gossip Girl but Wallace Shawn is also an accomplished playwright as well as writer with a recently released a book called, simply, Essays.
While most actors who have been around Hollywood as long as Shawn has might write a tell-all memoir about what he witnessed on various movie sets and the affairs he may or may not have fallen into, Essays shows an insightful, intelligent and enteraining thinker who covers everything from author Noam Chomsky and poet Mark Strand, the Iraq War and what he would like Barack Obama to know. Aside from commenting on the events in the world, Shawn also writes about topics that will make you think. For example, the first chapter called “The Quest For Superiority” focuses on the way everyone needs to feel better than someone else and, like all good writing, will leave you thinking about your own thoughts on the topic.
Shawn is also a lover of theater and talks about his upbringing and his adult exposure to the world of playwrights in such a way that informs but also makes you feel as though you are getting to know a new friend. In another chapter, Shawn expounds on the joys of feeling comfortable in every day life and how one does not appreciate this until they get older.
All in all, Shawn’s book of essays does what it’s supposed to and will leave you wanting more. While some of the writing walks the line of being high-brow, the book is very accessible and will leave you wanting more because while Shawn has always been entertaining when he’s saying someone else’s lines in a movie or television series, it’s in the arena of his own essays that Shawn clearly has a lot to say, too. You’d be wise to listen.