Performing Arts: A Post-Electric Play

by Editorial

Anne Washburn’s ‘Mr. Burns’ reveals the true value of fandom.

By Halle Kaplan-Allen

'Mr. Burns,' starring Jenna Sokolowski, Kimberly Gilbert and Steve Rosen, is scheduled to open May 28 at the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company in Washington's Penn Quarter (Photo by Michael Bailey).

Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company brings another hit to Washington, D.C. in the form of “Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play” by Anne Washburn. In a post-apocalyptic world, a group of seven survivors is brought together (around a campfire, no less) by their mutual appreciation for cartoon series The Simpsons, and find solace in a trivia-based discussion of the show, as well as other favorite pop culture hits from the past decade. The camaraderie created by their love for trivia and pop culture allows the group to work together to rebuild society. Mr. Burns will leave audiences wondering how they would react if everything they knew of the cultural world was suddenly swept away from under their feet.

Playwright Washburn has made a name for herself in the Washington area through her plays that have been performed at both Folger Theater and The Studio Theater. The genius of her work has been recognized with both a Guggenheim Award and a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship. The play’s director Steven Cosson is the founding artistic director of The Civilians theater troupe, which sponsors artists seeking to explore real-life, modern issues through theater. In other words, the company typically creates works of digiturgy, or “the gnarly examination of the wicked cool craft or technique of dramatic composition using awesomely boss information that is stored as sequences of bits,” according to the Wooly Mammoth’s blog on the play.

“Mr. Burns” is set to debut with two special “pay-what-you-can” performances from May 28th until the shows opening on June 1st, with tickets going on sale about two hours before the show’s 8 p.m. curtain. The play officially opens on May 30 and runs until July 1st, with performances Wednesday through Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Tickets run from $40 to $50.

To complement her play, Washburn has organized a series of events that further explore apocalyptic themes. Following the June 6th performance, there will be a panel discussion in which guests such as Pepco’s Robert Stewart, DC Water’s Jonathan Reeves, and engineering firm Keast and Hood’s Jon Tung will investigate the effects of an apocalyptic event on our nation’s capital.

Woolly Mammoth has commissioned local artists Gregg Deal, Dafna Steinburg and Kelly Towles to help audiences visualize a post-apocalyptic world by creating art inspired by a world that lacks the infrastructure of our water, electrical and architectural systems.

Finally, Trivia Kings is set to sponsor a number of Simpsons-themed trivia nights at local bars during which you can test your knowledge of the iconic cartoon series. Winners receive a free pair of tickets to see the show. The headlining trivia event is scheduled be held at the Rock and Roll Hotel in the H Street Corridor on May 31st at 7:30 p.m.

Purchase your tickets now:

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