Arts Desk

Mania for Mike Daisey Continues Apace

After monologuist Mike Daisey finishes his encore run of The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs this summer at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, he won't stay away for long. The troupe announced last night that a new Daisey monologue, American Utopias, will have its premiere there next March. Where Daisey's Apple meditation, already a hit in D.C., emerged at the center of the cultural conversation following the death of Steve Jobs, his newest play may be even more zeitgeisty: In the work, he explores locales that straddle the twin American ideals of utopianism and wish-fulfillment, from Disney World to Burning Man to  Zuccotti Park. Cue your Occupy Woolly jokes.

On first glance, the rest of Woolly's season also looks fairly ambitious, especially considering that in many of D.C.'s other larger theater houses, 2012-2013 will be a fairly safe season. The season begins in September with The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity, a play about—what else?—professional wrestling that could up the ante on local productions requiring fighting chops. In November the season continues with You for Me for You, a world premiere presented with the Ma-Yi Theater Company, by Mia Chung: It follows two North Korean sisters who attempt to reach the United States. Woolly's lighter-fare holiday slot goes to The Pajama Men: In the Middle of No One, the Albuquerque, N.M., duo's mash-up of stand-up, sketch, and physical theater. The Convert, Danai Gurira's play about the arrival of Christianity in Southern Africa, follows in February. And in May comes a work sure to upset standards cops at the newspaper of record: Stupid Fucking Bird, Aaron Posner's "sort of" adaptation of Chekhov's The Seagull.

From Woolly, here's the season description:

The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity
By Kristoffer Diaz
Directed by Company Member John Vreeke
September 3−September 30, 2012

Cast will include Jose Joaquin Perez (Oedipus el Rey), Company Member Michael Russotto (A Bright New Boise, House of Gold, Full Circle), and Jamin Olivencia.

The Helen Hayes Award-nominated design team from A Bright New Boise will return with set design by Company Member Misha Kachman, lighting design by Company Member Colin K. Bills, costume design by Misha Kachman and Ivania Stack, sound design by Chris Baine, video design by Jared Mezzocchi, and fight choreography by Joe Isenberg.

This 2010 Pulitzer Prize finalist is a drop-kicking, body-slamming, balls-out theatrical happening about the larger-than-life world of professional wrestling. Tired of making other pro wrestlers look good, Macedonio “The Mace” Guerra recruits a smart-mouthed Indian kid to dethrone the current All-American champ, Chad Deity. But in wrestling, as in life, even the most idealistic freedom-fighter can be seduced by the roar of the crowd.

You for Me for You

World Premiere
Presented in association with Ma-Yi Theater Company
By Mia Chung
Directed by Yury Urnov
November 5−December 2, 2012

Two North Korean sisters—facing starvation at the hands of a dizzyingly corrupt regime—make a bargain with a smuggler to flee to the United States. When one of the sisters is denied passage because she is too weak to make the treacherous transpacific crossing, the other sister makes a promise to race across time and space to save her.

The Convert
By Danai Gurira
Directed by Company Member Michael John Garcés
February 4−March 3, 2013

OBIE Award-winner Danai Gurira returns to Woolly with her rich, unflinching, and compassionate new play. Set amid the colonial scramble for Southern Africa in 1895, the play follows Jekesai, a young girl who escapes a forced marriage in her native village and lands in a Westernized household where Africans find themselves at odds over the arrival of Christianity.

American Utopias
World Premiere
Created and performed by Mike Daisey
Directed by Jean-Michele Gregory
March 25−April 21, 2013

Mike Daisey shows us a distinctly American vision of utopia—how we create civic spaces for ourselves in which we act out our dreams of a better world. Daisey takes us everywhere to pursue the story: from Disney World and its theme park perfection, to the drug-fueled anarchic excesses of Burning Man, from the Masonic underpinnings of our nation’s capitol, to Zuccotti Park, where in the unlikeliest place a new movement gets born. Gunplay, giant glittery dildos, police actions, and secret Freemason underwear come together to tell the history of our American dream.

Stupid Fucking Bird
World Premiere
By Aaron Posner
Directed by Howard Shalwitz
Sort of adapted from Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull
May 27−June 23, 2013

Cast will include Company Member Kimberly Gilbert (A Bright New Boise, Clybourne Park, In the Next Room or the vibrator play) and Katie DeBuys (In the Next Room or the vibrator play).

The design team will include set design by Company Member Misha Kachman and lighting design by Company Member Colin K. Bills.

An aspiring young theatre director named Conrad struggles to get out from under the shadow of his mother Emma, a famous actress. Meanwhile, his young muse Nina falls for Emma’s lover Doyle, and everyone discovers just how disappointing love, art, and growing up can be. In this contemporary and irreverent riff on Chekhov’s The Seagull, Aaron Posner transforms the famous "subtext" of the classic play into exuberant scenes and songs.

Subscription Add On (Holiday Show)

The Pajama Men:
In the Middle of No One
Created and performed by Shenoah Allen and Mark Chavez
Music by Kevin Hume
December 11, 2012−January 6, 2013

Following sell-out runs in London’s West End, Albuquerque duo The Pajama Men come to Woolly with their stand-up/sketch comedy/physical theatre extravaganza, In The Middle of No One. A delightfully silly comedy thriller about love, alien abduction, and the spirit of adventure, the show captures The Pajama Men’s trademark style of blink-of-an-eye character switches, plot twists, and audacious jokes.

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  • Bill Stankiewicz

    You say you're not a journalist...So that makes you a fucking liar.

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