The comedy troupe entertains with “We Know How You Die!” at Woolly Mammoth Theatre.
By Sabrina Pinkney
For the first time ever, The Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB) brought their New York based show to Washington, for a stint at the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company. Since 1980, Woolly Mammoth has entertained D.C. with fresh directing and acting techniques that has kept both audiences and critics happy. On opening night, July 13, Woolly started a new chapter as they encouraged a cast of four UCB actors to tell the audience, “We Know How You Die!”
As one of the most successful theatre companies, UCB has produced some of America’s greatest comedians, including Amy Poehler, Ellie Kemper, Donald Grover, Kate McKinnon, Nick Krill, Ed Helms, Jack McBrayer and Horatio Sanz, to name a few.
The stars of UCB’s engagement with Woolly Mammoth, actors Shannon O’Neil, Connor Ratliff, Brandon Scott Jones and Molly Thomas carried on the tradition of scary funny improv performing.
In a series of interconnected scenes, O’Neil, Ratfliff, Jones and Thomas all worked together to craft an elaborate story of a single audience member’s life with unpredictable scenarios all leading to his death. After gathering what seemed to be unrelated information about this audience member’s career, relationships, hobbies and more, the actors huddled together to decide on their skit for only a few minutes. Even with little scene planning, that was all it took to have the rest of the audience dying of laughter.
“To see people bravely navigate into unknown territory, walking on a tightrope of both truth and comedy, is a completely different kind of theatrical pleasure, and one that’s been under-represented in Washington,” said Woolly Mammoth Artistic Director, Howard Shalwitz.
“We’re thrilled to welcome one of America’s best-known improv troupes to our stage, where they’ll engage in a wonderful conspiracy between performers and audiences to create a unique story every night.”
During their time here, UCB Theatre actors offered improv classes and workshops at Woolly Mammoth before returning to New York City. For information on upcoming Woolly Mammoth shows, visit woollymammoth.net.