Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company Announces Its 2015-2016 Season by Justin McCarthy





Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company is pleased to announce its 2015-2016 season, featuring a world premiere as well as new plays receiving their Washington area premieres after garnering accolades from performances in New York, Los Angeles, and London including the Laurents/Hatcher Award, the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, and the Obie Award for Best New American Play. Woolly’s new season features the work of Sheila Callaghan, Jennifer Haley, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Rajiv Joseph, the Chicago Neo-Futurists and Canadian duo Marcus Youssef and James Long.

Woolly’s 2015-2016 season will grapple with urgent questions revolving around beauty, power and desire: where do our images of feminine beauty come from and who controls them? Who are the artisans who create beautiful things, and who owns their creations? Will the technology of the future let us freely pursue our darkest sexual desires? Will we ever be allowed to cross barriers of color and crawl inside the skin of the Other?

With the world premiere production of Sheila Callaghan’s Women Laughing Alone with Salad, Woolly’s new season delivers a powerful critique of our image-obsessed culture right from the start. The production will feature Company Member Kimberly Gilbert, and will serve as Woolly’s contribution to DC’s inaugural Women’s Voices Theatre Festival*, taking place in fall 2015.

Canada’s Marcus Youssef and James Long come to DC for the season’s next offering, Winners and Losers, a two-man theatrical drinking game that slowly reveals itself as a dangerous unpacking of privilege, status symbols, and class divisions. In December, Woolly has invited The Chicago Neo-Futurists back to perform Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind, their hilarious and harrowing 60-minute mini-play extravaganza, as this year’s Holiday Special.

To kick off 2016, the playwright/director pair of Rajiv Joseph and John Vreeke (Gruesome Playground Injuries) returns to Woolly with Joseph’s latest play Guards at the Taj, a tragicomic fable about beauty, responsibility, and friendship in 17th century India. In April 2016 Woolly will host dystopian modern crime drama The Nether, winner of the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, which will feature local actor Ed Gero as well as Company Members Tim Getman, Gabriela Fernandez-Coffey, and Jared Mezzocchi (multimedia design).

Woolly will welcome back the work of Branden Jacobs-Jenkins (Appropriate) for the final production of the 2015-2016 season, An Octoroon: an Obie Award-winning adaptation of a 19th century melodrama, part period satire, part provocative indictment of racial pigeonholing.

Artistic Director Howard Shalwitz. Photo by C. Stanley Photography.
Artistic Director Howard Shalwitz. Photo by C. Stanley Photography.

“We are delighted to welcome many of our favorite artists along with exceptional Woolly newcomers for this exciting new season,” says Woolly Mammoth Artistic Director Howard Shalwitz. “Hilariously uncensored verbal sparring, imaginative leaps through the past and future, emotional twists that tug at your insides, politically incorrect provocations that crash through taboo barriers—these are just a few elements of Woolly Mammoth’s 36th season, our most wildly theatrical and daring collection of plays to date.”

 * The Women’s Voices Theater Festival, which boasts participation from more than 50 theaters throughout the Nation’s Capital region, is dedicated to featuring new work by female playwrights and highlighting the scope of plays being written by women.


ABOUT THE 2015-2016 Season




By Sheila Callaghan 

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Directed by Kip Fagan

September 7–October 4, 2015

 World Premiere and part of the Women’s Voices Theatre Festival.

 What’s on the menu for Meredith, Tori, and Sandy: the three women in Guy’s life?

Healthy lifestyles, upward mobility, meaningful sex? Or self-loathing and distorted priorities?

Award-winning playwright Sheila Callaghan, writer of the 2009 Woolly hit Fever/Dream, serves up a world premiere on a bed of bawdy language in a gender-bending comedy vinaigrette, inviting everyone—men and women, mothers and sons—to savor this complex recipe of desire and shame.

Featuring a delectable cast including Company Member Kimberly Gilbert, Women Laughing

Alone with Salad dishes out our image-obsessed culture with abrasive imagery, biting social critique, and devastating humor.




Created and Performed by Marcus Youssef and James Long

Directed by Chris Abraham

October 26–November 27, 2015

Is Kanye West a winner or a loser? What about the Berlin Wall? Or goat cheese? Old friends

Marcus and Jamie spare nothing and no one in a seemingly harmless drinking game that separates the champions from the chumps. But what begins as a playful exercise slowly reveals itself as a dangerous unpacking of privilege, status symbols, and class divisions. 

Winners and Losers, a “frisky theatrical symposium” (Time Out NY) from Canadian theatre artists James Long and Marcus Youssef, blurs the line between real life and fiction, the personal and the political, admiration and resentment. Nothing is as wildly fun or as ruthlessly biting as friendly competition.




Created and Performed by The Neo-Futurists

December 7, 2015–January 3, 2016

The Chicago-based Neo-Futurists return to Woolly for the 5th time with their never-the-same-twice mini-play extravaganza inspired by Dada, surrealism, and the spontaneity of late-night sketch comedy. The Neo-Futurists are masters of merging the hilarious and the harrowing. Audiences choose the order of the plays, so every performance is a unique experience. 30 plays? 60 minutes? Challenge accepted! Warning from the artists: on any given night you can expect to see, hear, feel, and sometimes even smell things that may be interpreted as brazen, wet, hilarious, foulmouthed, partially nude, abrasive, sticky, hot, cold, triggering, sad, and so many other things. We promise.



Rajiv Joseph 2 credit Mark Kitaoka

By Rajiv Joseph

Directed by John Vreeke

February 1–February 28, 2016

India, 1648: two imperial guards watch as the sun rises over the newly-completed Taj Mahal, an awe-inspiring monument to the emperor’s dead queen. But awe gives way to terror when the guards are given a new assignment: to perform a bloody task whose grizzly aftermath will force them to question the very ideas of beauty, responsibility, and friendship.

Guards at the Taj—from playwright Rajiv Joseph and director John Vreeke, the team that brought us Gruesome Playground Injuries—is a tragicomic fable as hilarious as it is horrifying.

Beauty has a price. Are we willing to pay it?




By Jennifer Haley

Directed by Shana Cooper

April 4–May 1, 2016 

In 2050, when Earth is a gray wasteland, how will humanity escape? Enter the Nether: an immersive wonderland offering users beauty, order, and the ability to satisfy their desires—no matter how disturbing—away from “real world” scrutiny. In a series of gripping interviews, a young detective launches her investigation into the dark heart of this new realm in which depraved dreams have become reality.

Featuring Ed Gero in his Woolly debut, Company Members Gabriela Fernandez-Coffey and Tim Getman, and cutting edge multimedia design from Company Member Jared Mezzocchi, Olivier Award nominee The Nether s “a haunting and highly original” (Telegraph) modern crime drama that hacks into urgent questions of desire, technology, and morality.




By Branden Jacobs-Jenkins

Directed by Nataki Garrett

May 30–June 26, 2015

 A plantation on the brink of foreclosure. A young gentleman falling for the part-black daughter of the estate’s owner. An evil swindler plotting to buy her for himself. Meanwhile, the slaves are trying to keep things drama-free, because everybody else is acting crazy. 

An Octoroon, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ Obie-winning riff on a 19th century melodrama that helped shape the debate around the abolition of slavery, is an incendiary adaptation that the

New York Post called “entertainingly demented.” Part period satire, part meta-theatrical middle finger, it’s a provocative challenge to America’s lasting legacy of slavery and the racial pigeonholing of 1859—and today. 

*All titles and dates subject to change.


Subscriptions for the 2015-2016 season are available now by calling the Box Office at 202-393-3939, or stopping in person at 641 D Street, NW (7th & D). Subscriptions will be available for purchase online at www.woollymammoth.net in coming weeks. Single tickets will go on sale summer 2015, date to be announced.








Now in its 35th Season, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company continues to hold its place at the leading edge of American theatre. Acknowledged as “one of the most influential outposts for the best new American plays” (The Washington Post), and “known for its productions of innovative new plays” (The New York Times), Woolly Mammoth is a national leader in the development of new works, and one of the best known and most influential mid-sized theatres in America.


Thanks, and please visit our website to learn more.


Justin McCarthy is Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company’s Communications Coordinator.


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