Play 'Now or Later' Stirs Up Issues on Blasphemy and Freedom of Speech

The World

Grant MacDermott and Alexandra Neil in the Huntington Theatre Company's American premiere production of Christopher Shinn’s "Now or Later". (Photo: Paul Marotta)

A play new to American shores mirrors some of the anti-Muslim tumult – and the issues – that surrounded the Benghazi attack. "Now or Later" is the title, and it's presented by the Huntington Theatre Company in Boston. The scene: Election night in America, 2008. As the results roll in, things look good for the Democratic presidential candidate. The candidate's son John – a junior at an Ivy League college – is in his hotel room, waiting for his father to claim victory. But that night, blurry photographs showing him dressed as the prophet Mohammed at a party on campus start surfacing on the web. The campaign wants the son to apologize. But he refuses on the grounds that it's a free speech issue. The play premiered at London's Royal Court Theatre in 2008. American playwright Christopher Shinn says he was worried about the relevance of the play in 2012, until the Benghazi attack. Below, watch a behind the scenes video of the first rehearsal of "Now or Later" at the Huntington and hear opening remarks from director Michael Wilson and playwright Christopher Shinn.