Closing Doors


John Minigan



When fourth-grade teacher Sandra is called on the carpet by old friend and Assistant Principal Valerie for breaking protocol in an active shooter drill, they must decide how they can protect both their students and their friendship.




John Minigan is a Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist Fellow in Dramatic Writing. His plays have been developed with the Orlando Shakespeare Theater, New Repertory Theater, Portland Stage Company, and the Great Plains Theatre Conference. Queen of Sad Mischance is a 2020 winner of the New American Voices Festival and Gold Prize winner in the 2019 Clauder Competition for New England plays. Noir Hamlet was a Boston Globe Critics’ Pick and an EDGEMedia Best of Boston Theater for 2018. His work is included in the Best American Short Plays, Best Ten-Minute Short Plays, and New England New Plays anthologies. He is a five-time winner of the Firehouse New Works Contest, a winner of the Nantucket Short Play Contest, the Rover Dramawerks Competition, the Longwood 0-60 Contest, the Nor’Eastern Playwriting Contest, Seoul Players Contest, and the KNOCK International Short Play Competition. He serves as Dramatists Guild Ambassador for Eastern New England. johnminigan.com



1. When did you start writing plays? If you had a moment where you realized you wanted to write, what was it?


I wrote poetry and some prose for a long time, starting when I was a teenager. I only became seriously interested in writing plays when I was working as a math teacher and the drama teacher in the school asked if I wanted to help him out. I liked going to see plays, so I figured I’d give it a try. I knew instantly that my writing would be for the stage. Quit my job, went to grad school to get a master’s while also trying to learn all I should have been studying as an undergrad. Later went back to teaching, but theater and literature.


2. How did you come to write your OOB play? Was there a particular inspiration behind its creation? How has it developed?


I taught in public schools for over thirty years and saw the way gun violence was affecting all of us on a daily level–in buildings and within ourselves. And I was interested in the larger issue of how our political/social chaos was destroying our connections to one another. I heard an interview with teachers from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and it resonated deeply with me, and in ways I had to get on paper and on the stage.


3. What are 5 words that describe who you are as a playwright?


Slow, determined, varied, open, joyful


4. What/who are some of the major influences on your writing?


I love the way the personal and political exist symbiotically in plays by Paula Vogel, August Wilson, Tony Kushner, Lynn Nottage. And I taught Shakespeare for about fifteen years, so I always think about where I started, writing poetry, and the craft of getting the words to work.


5. What’s one fact someone would never guess about you?


I was once nominated by a local paper for Best Keyboard Player for my work in a punk band in the early 80’s. I think my mom voted for me.


6. What are some of your favorite plays?


King Lear, Indecent, Sweat, The Illusion, Piano Lesson, Six Characters in Search of an Author


7. Any new projects you’re working on or shameless plugs?


Looking forward to the next reading of Queen of Sad Mischance – also a play about the intersection of racial and gender politics and the personal. It was one of four winners of the New American Voices Festival, so it’ll have a streamed reading in July. I’m hoping it gets on stage at some point – it’s my most “awarded” play, but hasn’t had much luck getting produced despite more than a dozen readings around the country.