Under the leadership of Founding Artistic Director Howard Shalwitz, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company of Washington DC is celebrating its 20th season of producing cutting-edge drama and nurturing new play development. The first show of the 1999-2000 season, The Dead Monkey, has been extended two weeks and will now run through Oct. 17. Monkey, by British dramatist Nick Darke, began performances Sept. 1, officially opened Sept. 4, and was to have ended Oct. 3.
A hit for Woolly in 1989, this tale of a California surfer couple who depend on a monkey to cement their strained relationship (they "go ape" when he dies) returns with original star Sarah Marshall, directed by Shalwitz. Also in the cast are Bruce Nelson and David Marks.
Also on tap for Woolly Mammoth this season:
The Dark Kalamazoo (Nov. 10-Dec. 12, 1999), a world premiere written and performed by Oni Faida Lampley, Helen Hayes award-winning playwright of Mixed Babies, and directed by Lynn Thomson. Lampley portrays an African-American woman, journeying on her first trip to West Africa as a wide-eyed student from Kalamazoo College.
[If the director's name sounds familiar, it's because she's the same Lynn Thomson who served as dramaturg on Jonathan Larson's musical Rent -- and ended up suing the Larson estate for the status of co authorship.] Stop Kiss (Jan. 12-Feb. 13, 2000) by Diana Son. Callie and Sara pay a high price for a first kiss in this area premiere. First produced last season at the Joseph Papp Public Theatre/New York Shakespeare Festival, Stop Kiss earned Son the John Gassner Playwriting Award.
BUG, an American premiere follows (March 15-April 16, 2000), by Tracy Letts, author of the New York and Chicago hit, Killer Joe. Hiding out from her ex-con husband in a dingy motel on the outskirts of Oklahoma City, Agnes meets Peter. Everything's cool until Peter starts seeing bugs...everywhere. It's an X-Files world.
Wonder Of The World arrives May 24-June 25, 2000. The world premiere of David Lindsay-Abaire's play tells of Cass, who finds her life too predictable. Who can blame her for leaving her husband, hopping a bus to Niagara Falls, and befriending a suicidal alcoholic with a pickle barrel?
Woolly Mammoth subscriptions are currently on sale for "Season 20" by calling (202) 393-3939. The theatre is currently offering Tim Miller's solo Shirts & Skin, July 28-Aug. 8.
-- by Barbara Gross