Washington, D.C.'s Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company will welcome Liza Jessie Peterson and her acclaimed solo show The Peculiar Patriot this season. The multimedia monologue play, a profound and critical look at the national mass incarceration crisis, replaces the previously scheduled production of What the Constitution Means to Me by Heidi Schreck (which is transferring to Broadway in March).
The Peculiar Patriot is written and performed by Peterson with direction by Talvin Wilks. The production will be presented by Woolly Mammoth in association with the National Black Theatre and Hi-ARTS, which produced the world premiere—and subsequent return engagement—in 2017 and 2018. Dates for the D.C. run will be announced at a later date.
“I am thrilled for the opportunity to add Liza Jessie Peterson’s timely and urgently needed show, The Peculiar Patriot, to this season at Woolly,” says Woolly Mammoth Artistic Director Maria Manuela Goyanes. “She deftly unpacks the human impact of mass incarceration in America, turning statistics into real, relatable, and hilarious stories that will stay with you for long after you leave the theater.”
The monologue play follows protagonist Betsy LaQuanda Ross, a self-proclaimed peculiar patriot, as she makes regular visits to penitentiaries to boost the morale of her incarcerated friends and family, and navigates love amid barbed wire.
Peterson was inspired to write the play by her own work in New York City prisons over the last two decades. The Peculiar Patriot looks at the business of the criminal justice system (those who are profiting), examines the human impact, and shines a light on the racial disparities inherent within.
Peterson, an actor, writer, poet, and activist, has performed excerpts from The Peculiar Patriot in over 35 penitentiaries across the country. She was also featured in Ava DuVernay’s Oscar-nominated documentary The 13th.
Plans are in the works for Schreck to come to D.C. to present What the Constitution Means to Me at Woolly Mammoth. More details to be announced.