American Utopias, Mike Daisey's Latest, Among Premieres in DC Woolly Mammoth's 2012-13 Season

By Kenneth Jones
June 14, 2012

Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, the Washington, DC, company devoted to contemporary theatre and an off-beat sensibility, will present three world premieres — including the new piece by controversial monologist Mike Daisey — in its 2012-13 season.



Daisey, whose documentary-seeming The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs was scorned for playing fast and loose with some facts, will return to Woolly Mammoth in spring 2013 to present American Utopias, created and performed by Daisey and directed by Jean-Michele Gregory.

According to Woolly Mammoth notes, "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."

Performances will play 
March 19-April 14, 2013.

The five-play season (with a special sixth engagement of the London physical-comedy work The Pajama Men:
 In the Middle of No One) features a new play by Aaron Posner, based on Chekhov's The Seagull directed by WM artistic director Howard Shalwitz), and a new work by Korean-American playwright Mia Chung.

Here's the 2012-13 Woolly Mammoth season at a glance:

The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity
By Kristoffer Diaz
Directed by John Vreeke
Sept. 3-30

"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
By Mia Chung
Directed by Yury Urnov
In Association with Ma-Yi Theater Company
Nov. 5-Dec. 2

"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 trans-Pacific crossing, the other sister makes a promise to race across time and space to save her."

The Convert
By Danai Gurira
Directed by Michael John Garcés
Feb. 11-March 10, 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 are pitted against each other over the arrival of Christianity."

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

"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.

The Pajama Men: 
In the Middle of No One
Created and Performed by The Pajama Men 
AKA Shenoah Allen and Mark Chavez
Music by Kevin Hume
Dec. 11, 2012-Jan. 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 and plot twists, underscored with unflinching joke-telling."

For more information, visit woollymammoth.net.