Jon Hudson Odom in "An Octoroon" by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company. (Photo by Scott Suchman)

Woolly Mammoth Sets 6-Play 2017-18 Season

Next season at the D.C. theatre will include a remount of ‘An Octoroon’ and a new translation of Max Frisch’s ‘The Arsonists.’

WASHINGTON, D.C.: Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company has announced its 2017-18 season, which its billing as a season dealing with politics, race, identity, and culture.

“Our world is changing rapidly, both socially and politically, leaving many voices feeling curbed and stifled,” said Woolly Mammoth artistic director Howard Shalwitz in a statement. “We must respond to that struggle and face it. It’s our job as artists to engender critical dialogue and do so with joy, humor, love, and honesty. These works will propel us to examine authority, our world, and each other a little closer and with fresh perspective.”

The season will open with a remount of An Octoroon by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins (July 18-Aug. 6). The play is a riff on a 19th-century melodrama by Dion Boucicault, about a plantation owner who falls in love with a partially black woman. Nataki Garrett will direct.

After that will be The Arsonists by Max Frisch, in a new translation by Alistar Beaton (Sept. 5-Oct. 8). The play, written in 1953 Germany as a response to the rise in Nazism and Communism, is about a town that is regularly attacked by arsonists. Michael John Garcés will direct.

For the holidays, the Second City returns to Woolly with the world premiere of Nothing to Lose (But Our Chains) (Nov. 11-Dec. 31). The show will combine sketch, stand-up, and music to tell the story of one black man, who goes from six years in a state prison to a six-figure corporate job, to how he became an activist. It will be performed by Felonious and a cast of Chicago comedians. Billy Bungeroth will direct.

In February, Woolly will present Familiar by Danai Gurira (Feb. 5-March 4, 2018). The family drama is about an immigrant Zimbabwean family in Minnesota, preparing for the wedding of their eldest daughter. Adam Immerwahr will direct.

Then, Woolly will mount Underground Railroad Game by Jennifer Kidwell and Scott R. Sheppard (April 4-29, 2018). The play takes place in a middle school where two teachers—one black and one white—are attempting to teach their students about slavery. The play was previously produced Off Broadway at Ars Nova and that production will move to Woolly. Taibi Magar will direct.

The season will end with the American premiere of Botticelli in the Fire by Canadian playwright Jordan Tannahill (May 28-June 24, 2018). The play takes place in Italy, as Sandro Botticelli is painting his famous Birth of Venus.

Founded in 1978, Woolly Mammoth develops and produces innovative new plays.

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