Five plays were announced for the next WM season, which will include an American premiere by Charlotte Jones; one of Off-Broadway's recent hits, In the Continuum, featuring its playwright/actresses; the second production of a new work from Noah Haidle; and a frisky, theatrically minded, gender-bent comedy by David Greenspan.
Ruhl is known for her regional hit, The Clean House, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Rebecca Bayla Taichman will direct Dead Man's Cell Phone for Woolly Mammoth in June-July 2007.
"How much could someone learn about you if they found your cell phone — and you weren’t there to stop them?" the WM production notes ask. "From the lyrical author of The Clean House comes an oddly mythic love story in which a lonely woman finds herself the unwitting guardian of a stranger's memory. Traveling literally to hell and back, Ruhl's quirky comedy is set amidst a world where technology is swallowing our souls, grieving is more complicated than we think, and everyone is desperate to make connections."
The 2006-07 Woolly Mammoth season includes In the Continuum, the play about how AIDS impacts black women around the world, written and performed by Danai Gurira and Nikkole Salter; Jones' Martha, Josie & The Chinese Elvis, an American premiere of a comedy about English misfits, by the author of Humble Boy; the East Coast premiere of Noah Haidle's Vigils, about "a woman who clings to her dead husband's talkative soul and aggressively active body, even while she struggles to have sex with someone new"; and David Greenspan's She Stoops to Comedy(part of Shakespeare in Washington Festival).
"During each generation, new playwrights and theatre makers come along and re-invent how the stage can be used — to encompass our hopes and fears, to reflect our changing lives and values, and most of all, to open our minds and imaginations in new ways," said Woolly Mammoth co-founder and artistic director Howard Shalwitz, in his season announcement. "Some of the writers and directors in our 2006-07 Season were children when Woolly Mammoth was founded in 1980. Now, we welcome them as the re-inventors of the stage, the leading-edge artists who are pushing and pulling our artform once again — into the age of instant messaging, reality TV, 'American Idol,' terrorism, hybrid cars, bird flu, and gay cowboys. Most striking is the sheer exuberance and eccentricity of these works, the insistence on ironic humor to leaven even the weightiest of topics, the reliance on fantasy and magic and make-believe — above all, the creative rethinking of theatre itself." Robert O'Hara will direct In the Continuum; John Vreeke will direct Martha, Josie & The Chinese Elvis; Shalwitz will direct She Stoops to Comedy, seen Off-Broadway and billed as actor-writer Greenspan's "gender-bending romp" with a plot that "barely hints at the multi-layered shenanigans." In it, "an actress (played by a man) schemes to woo back her estranged female lover by playing Orlando (who we all know is a man, right?) opposite her lover's Rosalind in a summer-stock production of As You Like It. Multiple romances (of multiple kinds) ensue for a graceful and dazzling feast of pure theatre."
For more information, visit www.woollymammoth.net.