Washington, D.C.'s Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company entered Freedomland on Sept. 16, when it began performances of Amy Freed's Pulitzer Prize-nominated play. Mammoth Artistic Director Howard Shalwitz will direct the production, which officially opens Sept. 19 for a run through Oct. 11.
Amy Freed's darkly satiric comedy Freedomland, which had its premiere last month at South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa, CA, takes its title from the name of a Wild West theme park in the Bronx, where Freed grew up. (The park was ultimately torn down in the 1960s to make way for Co-op City, a high-rise housing development.) The play, however, is not about the warm, nostalgic world of amusement parks -- at its center is a distraught family with deep-seated problems: The father has been abandoned by his first wife; his second wife is a free-love refugee; his two grown daughters -- an avant-garde artist and a lost soul who loves to go to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings--hate each other; and his paranoid son is on the verge of going postal.
Freed's previous play, the black comedy The Psychic Life of Savages -- a fictionalized look at the poets Sylvia Plath, Ted Morgan, Anne Sexton, and Robert Lowell -- won the New York Arts Club's prestigious $10,000 Joseph Kesselring Award and was a hit two seasons ago at Woolly Mammoth Theatre in Washington (in a production that won a 1995 Charles McArthur Award for outstanding new play).
Freedomland stars Nancy Robinette, Christopher Lane, Rhea Seehorn, John Dow, Kimberly Schraf, Deb Gottesman and Jason Gilbert.
For tickets ($15-$28) and information on Freedomland at Woolly Mammoth call (703) 218-6500. -- By Robert Simonson and Rebecca Paller