“What you’re about to see is completely spontaneous and unrehearsed,” said Shalwitz (though he was holding notes, which indicated otherwise).
Though Woolly doesn’t yet have “the secret magic phrase” for next season, the focus is “cultural excavations and collisions. Where do our culture and values come from? [And] how do they collide in relation to each other and within our own souls?”
The evening that followed was like a live version of the coming attractions you get before the movies: snippets of dialogue from some of the shows, video clips from others and interviews with a couple of playwrights.
“The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity,” a 2010 Pulitzer Prize finalist by Kristoffer Diaz, will open the season. Directed by company member John Vreeke, the play gets inside the guts of the world of professional wrestling. Jose Joaquin Perez, recently seen at Woolly in “Oedipus el Rey,” performed a monologue his character delivers early in the show.
He was followed by Mia Chung, the playwright of “You for Me for You,” the story of two North Korean sisters who try to immigrate to America. It is Chung’s first professional production — she just completed her MFA at Brown University — and she said she was inspired by the idea of using Stockholm Syndrome “as a paradigm for looking at North Korea. . . . My goal was to write a play that confronted North Korea and make it funny.”
“The Convert,” by Obie Award-winner Danai Gurira and directed by company member Michael John Garces, is set in 1895 and follows a young African girl who converts to Christianity to escape from an arranged marriage.
Mike Daisey’s new effort, “American Utopias,” will follow. Shalwitz, Woolly’s artistic director, described the world premiere as “using Disney and Burning Man as a platform for analyzing the Zuccotti Park movement . . . as an expression of American utopian impulse.”
The season will close with “Stupid F---ing Bird,” Aaron Posner’s adaptation of Chekhov’s “The Seagull.” Posner was on hand to read a scene with Shalwitz, who will direct.
At first, he said, he thought this was a play “that nobody will ever do.” Then he reconsidered. “No one will ever do this play — except Woolly Mammoth.”
Styling the Founding Fathers
Picture George Washington.
The first thing you see probably isn’t his mouthful of wooden teeth hidden behind his thin-lipped non-smile that faces you, deadpan, on the front of every dollar bill.
The thing you likely think of is his hair. It’s always the hair, that go-to iconic feature. Which is why the wigs of Ford’s Theatre’s “1776” are central to the production.
“There are 24 wigs in the show,” said Cookie Jordan, the wig and makeup designer who is dressing the wigs for the show. (To make custom-built wigs from scratch, she said, could cost $2,400 — per wig.)