Larry Bull & Jordan Baker in the Humana Festival production of “Appropriate.” Woolly Mammoth’s production of the play will open in November.
When it was founded in 1976, The Humana Festival of New American Plays was unique: It was a centralized showcase of new work from playwrights around the country. Decades later, new play development is no longer consolidated in a single spot, but the festival continues to a enjoy a reputation as a major platform for plays their authors hope will ripple out to stages of every size in the years to come.
I’d never been to Humana, so I was excited by an invitation to Louisville to cover the festival’s closing “industry weekend” with 11 other journalists from around the country, including my pal Michael Phillips, as part of a “pop-up newsroom” called Engine 31. This year’s six-play lineup was the first curated by Obie Award-winning British director Les Waters, who has earned a reputation as a midwife for important new plays by directing premieres from heavy hitters like Sarah Ruhl, Caryl Churchill, and Anne Washburn. The slate Waters programmed featured six new plays. Of the four that I saw, three were sufficiently intriguing to make me want to revisit them. Continue reading
I’ve written about monologuist Mike Daisey a lot in the last four years, but especially last year, in the wake of damaging revelations about his show The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs.
He and I met again at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, his performing home here in DC since 2008, last Friday to talk about his new piece, American Utopias, which I review in this week’s Washington City Paper. I’ve just posted an edited, partial transcript of that talk up on Arts Desk. Continue reading
My review of Woolly Mammoth‘s production of Kristoffer Diaz‘s very funny wrestling play The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity ran in the City Paper last Friday, while I was busy cavorting abroad.
Her name? None of your business!
. . .
That was a little joke. Very. Sorry. I was in airports and on planes for 25 hours yesterday, which is yesterday-plus. Cut me some slack, willya?
I’ve already written at length about my reaction to the news that Mike Daisey — a stage storyteller whose work I’ve admired for years — fabricated the most emotionally resonant elements of his tech-manufacturing expose monologue The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs. He’s bringing the show back to the place of its birth, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, for a three-week engagement starting next week.
I spent a vacation week from my day job writing about him again. It was not at all restful. It did not help that my usual and customary stress valves — running and boxing — were both severely impaired by a record-pummeling 11-day heatwave here in Our Nation’s Capital that included the hottest day ever recorded in Washington, DC: 105 degrees Fahrenheit on July 7, if you care. On the plus side, my electricity stayed on.
But I digress! My cover story in this week’s Washington City Paper does some chin-scratching about Woolly’s decision to stage Daisey’s controversial show again, and attempts to explain why I think Daisey remains an important artist despite the poor decisions he made during his perilous crossing of the artist-activist Rubicon. I’ll take what he says on stage from now on with a grain of salt, but then I always did. The main thing is I’ll keep showing up to hear what he says. Continue reading
However precipitous its decline, The Simpsons
remains the only TV show my entire family will sit in the same room and watch together. (Mom, I suspect, might just be going along to get along.) But one needn’t have so intimate an association with TV’s longest-lived comedy to appreciate the grim genius of Anne Washburn
‘s Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play.
I review Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
‘s world-premiere production in today’s Washington City Paper
, available wherever finer alt-weeklies are given away for free. Sorry about the ugly split infinitive that crept in there, you guys. Continue reading