Chay Yew directs Woolly Mammoth company member Jessica Frances Dukes with Carlton Byrd, Andrew Price, Jenna Sokolowski and Nick Vienna. Performances play to April 26. Opening is April 5.
Woolly Mammoth, known for presenting provocative contemporary plays, bills Antebellum as "part mystery, part Hollywood romance…[the] stylish new play bridges time, space, religion and race to track a love affair that defies history's harshest cruelties. It's 1939. Hitler's death camps flourished and Great Britain and France have declared war on Germany. In Germany, Black American cabaret singer Gabriel (Carlton Byrd) is a kept companion to a Nazi officer (Andrew Price). Meanwhile, in Atlanta, with 'Gone with the Wind' premiering amid star-studded decadence, a mysterious woman named Edna (Jessica Frances Dukes) shows up at the home of Ariel and Sarah (Nick Vienna, Jenna Sokolowski) attempting to find work. Against the backdrops of a Southern plantation, a German concentration camp, Hollywood movies and Berlin cabarets, these two stories merge into one sweeping romance — and fate decides which souls survive and which must be sacrificed."
O'Hara is author of Insurrection: Holding History. He's an Obie Award winner for directing In the Continuum Off-Broadway.
"We are thrilled to keep building our relationship with Robert O'Hara, one of the great multi-talents in our field," stated Woolly Mammoth artistic director Howard Shalwitz. "Following his award-winning direction of In the Continuum, Robert returns to Woolly as a playwright with a provocative new work that unfolds on two continents during the momentous years leading up to World War II. Ambitious both in its style (inspired by the big Hollywood epics of the period) and its content (a sexual mystery crossing boundaries of race and gender), Antebellum is the work of a passionate artist who reaches for big ideas and big emotions, and always leaves his audience with much to ponder and debate." Playwright O'Hara received an Obie Award for his direction of In the Continuum Off-Broadway, seen at Woolly Mammoth in 2006. His recent projects include rewriting The Wiz (revival at La Jolla Playhouse, directed by Des McAnuff), directing Tough Titty by Oni Faida Lampley (Magic Theater), directing the upcoming Brother/Sister Plays by Tarell Alvin McCraney (co-production at McCarter Theater/New York Shakespeare Festival, Public Theater), and completing a new play commissioned by La Jolla Playhouse. He wrote and directed the world premiere of Insurrection: Holding History at the Public Theater, receiving the Oppenheimer Award for Best New American Play.
Yew has directed extensively around the country including at The Public Theater, New York Theatre Workshop, Humana Festival/Actors Theatre of Louisville, The Kennedy Center, Mark Taper Forum, Goodman Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, National Asian American Theatre Company, Gala Hispanic Theatre, Singapore Repertory Theatre, Theatre Rhinoceros, and the Smithsonian Institute, among others. As a playwright, he penned Porcelain, A Language of Their Own, Red, A Beautiful Country, Wonderland, Question 27 Question 28, A Distant Shore and 17 and adaptations including A Winter People (based on The Cherry Orchard) and Lorca's The House of Bernarda Alba; and a musical, Long Season.
The design team for Antebellum includes Tony Cisek (set design), Valerie St. Pierre Smith (costume design), Colin K. Bills (lighting design), Matthew M. Nielson (sound design) and Jennifer Sheetz (properties).
Woolly Mammoth is located at 641 D Street, NW (7th & D). For more information visit visit www.woollymammoth.net.