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Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company - Defy convention


by Charles L. Mee
directed by Michael Rohd

Featuring Company Members Jessica Frances Dukes, Daniel Escobar, Naomi Jacobson, Sarah Marshall, Kate Eastwood Norris, Michael Russotto, Michael Willis, and Woolly Mammoth Artistic Director Howard Shalwitz. With Wyckham Avery.

October 26 – November 29, 2009

Appropriate for ages 14 and up.
Running Time: approx. 2hrs 30min
(1 intermission)

NOTE: Full Circle travels throughout Woolly’s facility. The audience will move with it, sitting and standing at various times.  Comfortable shoes are recommended for this unconventional experience.




OverviewWho's whoSchedule and PricesAdditional Info



About the Show

The ancient Chinese myth of the chalk circle re-emerges at the fall of the Berlin Wall: as the crotchety East German Chancellor watches a play, students suddenly riot and the profiteers swoop in. Amid the chaos, two women launch a madcap chase to save an abandoned baby and outrun the vultures of both communism and capitalism. Their journey through Woolly’s entire building comes full circle back to the stage—but can a disgraced artistic director help them reset the nation’s moral compass?

Full Circle is inspired by The Chalk Circle, a Chinese zaju play written in the Yuan Dynasty, which inspired The Chalk Circle by the German poet Klabund, which inspired Bertolt Brecht’s The Caucasian Chalk Circle.

A 'CIRCLE' OF WOOLLY FUN. Going with the flow is definitely in order with [this] roaming, multimedia movable feast of Mee's fun and frequently irreverent rewriting of history.”
Washington Times

VISUALLY INVENTIVE. Breaks through theatrical boundaries enthusiastically [with] the comic contributions of a corps of Woolly favorites.” – City Paper

A COMEDY WITH A STRONG SARDONIC EDGE…part-madcap, part-satire, part-soul-searching tale. A MEMORABLE EVENING OF THEATRE.” – Metro Weekly


AN EXHILARATING FARCE. Brings together many familiar faces from past Woolly productions and lets them shine both singly and as an ensemble.” –

AMBITIOUS. Unconventional staging and some audacious casting lend the production a giddy swagger." – The Examiner

“What’s the purpose of theater after all, if not to make you think? And Full Circle definitely did that.” – WeLoveDC

THOUGHT-PROVOKING AND CAPTIVATING. It was amazing to see the cast act around the audience and use the entire Woolly Mammoth facility in such a unique way.” – AU Eagle


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Who's Who


CHARLES L. MEE (playwright) has written Big Love, True Love, and First Love, bobrauschenbergamerica, Hotel Cassiopeia, Orestes 2.0, Trojan Women: A Love Story,  Summertime, and Wintertime, among other plays – all available online at  His plays have been performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, American Repertory Theatre, New York Theatre Workshop, The Public Theater, Lincoln Center, the Humana Festival, Steppenwolf, and other places in the United States, as well as in Berlin, Paris, Amsterdam, London, Brussels, Vienna, Istanbul, and elsewhere.  Chuck is the recipient of the Gold Medal for Lifetime Achievement in Drama from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, two Obies, a Laura Pels Award, and the Richard B. Fisher Award.  He is the head of the graduate playwriting program at Columbia University’s School of the Arts.  He is the author of a number of books of history (Meeting at Potsdam, The Marshall Plan, The End of Order) that have been selections of the Book-of-the-Month Club and the History Book Club, and is the former editor-in-chief of Horizon magazine, a magazine of history, art, literature, and the fine arts.  Chuck is a lifetime trustee of the Washington think tank The Urban Institute.

MICHAEL ROHD (Director) is founding artistic director of Sojourn Theatre in Portland, Oregon, a 2005 recipient of Americans for the Arts’ Animating Democracy Exemplar Award.  His work there as writer/director includes Built (presented as part of Portland’s TBA 2008 Festival), Good (2008 Portland Drammy, Outstanding Production of the Season), and 7 Great Loves (five 2003 Drammy Awards, including Best Production and Best Director).  Michael has been a recipient of Theatre Communication Group’s New Generations Grant, and their Extended Collaboration Grant.  An associate artist with Cornerstone Theater Company (Los Angeles) and Ping Chong & Co (New York), he is on faculty at Northwestern University’s Theater Department in Evanston, IL.  His current projects include creating Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s first-company devised, site-specific work, a new Sojourn piece called On The Table, and a commission at Kansas City Rep.  He is author of the book Theatre for Community, Conflict, and Dialogue.



JESSICA FRANCES DUKES(Dulle Griet) was recently seen in Eclipsed, Fever/Dream, and Antebellum at Woolly Mammoth and Unleashed: The Secret Lives of White House Pets at The Kennedy Center. Her regional credits include Starving (Woolly Mammoth), The Piano Lesson (Geva Theater/Indiana Rep), Spunk (Tribute Productions/African Continuum Theatre Company; Helen Hayes Award nomination), Jitney (Ford’s Theatre/African Continuum Theatre), Insurrection: Holding History (Theater Alliance), and other productions at Studio Theatre, Horizon Theater (GA), The Kennedy Center, Theater Alliance, and Washington Stage Guild. She has a B.S. from Frostburg State University and an MFA from Catholic University. Jessica currently teaches Fundamentals of Acting at Montgomery College and is a Woolly Company Member.



DANIEL ESCOBAR (Krenz/Hermann/Translator) is happy to be back at Woolly to be a part of Season 30. He has appeared at Woolly in She Stoops to Comedy (Helen Hayes Award). On television, you might have caught Daniel guest starring on Desperate Housewives, Weeds, Two and a Half Men, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Monk, among others. He also just finished shooting two movies: Not Forgotten, with Simon Baker, and Sympathy for Delicious, with Laura Linney and Orlando Bloom, directed by Mark Ruffalo which should be out for the holidays. Daniel has been a Woolly Company Member since 1992 and hopes to keep coming back and working in his home away from home more and more. Daniel resides in Los Angeles.



NAOMI JACOBSON (Pamela) is a 17-year Company Member.  Her Woolly credits include The Unmentionables, Vigils (both Helen Hayes nominations), Dead Man's Cell Phone, Heaven, and Big Love (by Chuck Mee).  Most recently she played Arkadina in The Seagull at Theater J.  Other credits include Arena Stage (Affiliated Artist), Shakespeare Theatre Company, Ford's Theatre, Round House Theatre, Folger Theatre, Signature Theatre, The Goodman Theatre (Chicago), Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, Delaware Theatre Company, and the Berkshire Theatre Festival.  Naomi is a 2009 Lunt Fontanne Fellow, and holds dear an MFA from Temple University, a Helen Hayes Award, and an Individual Artist Grant from the DC Commission on the Arts.  Upcoming shows: Henry V, Richard II in rep at the Harman Center.



SARAH MARSHALL (Erich Honecker/Cook/Helmut) has been teaching and performing in Washington, DC for over 25 years. She has been a Company Member at Woolly Mammoth for nearly 20 years. Her credits here include The Vampires, The Dead Monkey, Wanted, Spain, In the Blood, The Mineola Twins, The Clean House, Dead Man's Cell Phone, Maria/Stuart, and most recently, Boom. She is very pleased to be working with her associates from Georgetown University, Clark Young and Liz McAuliffe, as well as all the student rebels, and she is gleeful to be reunited with so many actors from the Woolly Company, as well as Himself, Howard! She is grateful to Michael Rohd for including her in this production.



KATE EASTWOOD NORRIS (Christa/Ursula/Translator) is very proud to be a member of this truly incredible cast and company. Her previous Woolly credits include last season’s Fever/Dream, as well as She Stoops To Comedy (her second Helen Hayes Award), Big Love, and Bug. Kate has been seen in many DC area theatres, including the Folger Theatre, and has worked regionally all across the U.S., her favorite cities being Philadelphia and Santa Cruz. Next, she’ll appear in a world premiere at Berkeley Rep and, in late spring, her one-woman Hamlet. Visit Kate at For Cody and Mom and Dad!



MICHAEL RUSSOTTO (Modrow/Werner/Translator) is delighted to be back on the Woolly stage where he last appeared as Alexandra Page in She Stoops to Comedy (Helen Hayes Award nomination).  His other Woolly credits include Vigils, Lenny and Lou, Wonder of the World, and The Pitchfork Disney.   Most recently Michael played two roles in Arena Stage’s world premiere of Legacy of Light by Karen Zacarías.  In the Washington area, he has also appeared at The Kennedy Center TYA, Theater J, Metro Stage, Olney Theatre, Washington Stage Guild, Theatre Alliance, and Studio Theatre.  Michael is a proud member of the Woolly Mammoth Acting Company and is also a long-time narrator of recorded books for the Library of Congress.



HOWARD SHALWITZ (Heiner Muller, Woolly Mammoth Artistic Director) was co-founder of Woolly Mammoth, and for 30 years has led the company on a unique path, focused on new plays that ask provocative questions, introduce fresh voices, and challenge theatrical convention.  Both a director and an actor, Howard is one of the few artists to receive multiple Helen Hayes Award nominations in both categories.   At Woolly he has directed nearly thirty plays including Fever/Dream, Measure for Pleasure, She Stoops to Comedy, and The Faculty Room, and appeared in The Gigli Concert, Lenny & Lou, and Rocket to the Moon, to mention just a few.  He has directed for major New York and regional companies including Playwrights Horizons, New York Theatre Workshop, Arena Stage, and Milwaukee Rep, and performed with Studio Arena, Soho Rep, New Jersey Shakespeare, and many more.  A native of Buffalo, Howard studied philosophy at Wesleyan University and received a Masters in Teaching from Brown University before launching his theatre career in New York in 1975.



MICHAEL WILLIS(Warren Buffet/Sign Man), a Woolly Company Member for 25 years, has appeared in Fever/Dream, Current Nobody, Grace, and NY Mets, to name a few and worked at many current and defunct Washington theatres. Nominated for five Helen Hayes Awards, he received the award for The Boys Next Door. Michael’s numerous film credits include Pushing Tin, Men in Black, and Just the Ticket, and on television recurring roles on The Wire and Homicide: Life on the Streets, and four appearances on Law & Order. Michael is grateful to his wonderful and loving family, wife Lori, and their children Mike Jr., Amy, and Rebecca for the unconditional support and tolerance they offer as he pursues his muse.



WYCKHAM AVERY(Student Leader/Concierge/Ensemble) recently performed in Rorschach Theatre's Dead City and dog & pony dc's workshop production of Courage, and directed PUNCH: that's the way we do it. She appeared as Mrs. Antrobus in The Skin of Our Teeth (Rorschach Theatre), directed [eureka] (Forum Theatre), and performed in The Taming of the Shrew (Shakespeare Theatre Company). She is currently developing a duo clown show titled Separated at Birth with dog & pony dc. Wyckham received her MFA in acting from CUA and trained at the Dell’ Arte International School of Physical Theatre.


The production team includes Shannon Scrofano (Set & Multimedia Designer), Colin K. Bills (Lighting Designer), Ivania Stack (Costume Designer), Veronika Vorel (Sound Designer), Jennifer Sheetz (Properties), Elizabeth Johnson (Choreographer).


Wednesday through Saturday at 8pm, Sunday at 2pm and 7pm
(no 8pm performance on Thanksgiving, Thursday, Nov. 26), plus one Tuesday 8pm show on Nov. 10.

Pay-What-You-Can performances: Monday, Oct. 26 & Tuesday, Oct. 27 at 8pm.
Tickets sold at 6:30pm each evening, two per person, cash/check only.  Lines begin forming between 5-5:30pm. Performances typically sell out.

Meet the Artists Discussions: following performances on Wednesday, Nov. 4, Sunday, Nov. 8 (2pm), and Thursday, Nov. 12.


Previews, 1st week: Wednesday and Thursday 8pm - $37 & $27;
Saturday 8pm - $56 & $46.

Regular price: Tuesday-Thursday 8pm and Sunday 7pm - $50 & $40; Friday 8pm and Sunday 2pm - $57 & $47; Saturday 8pm - $62 & $52.


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Additional Information:

"The Revolution Will Be Televised" – PROGRAM NOTES

"What's going around in 'Full Circle' " – The Washington Post's Backstage Column

DC Theatre Scene's Full Circle interview.

Feature in the November issue of the Washington Diplomat

From Artistic Director Howard Shalwitz:

“For Season 30, Woolly is focused on the broad theme of theatre and democracy and Full Circle is unquestionably our centerpiece: a big, fun, meaty play that gives us a chance to re-unite much of our acting company with a favorite playwright, explore our beautiful space in new ways, honor the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, and engage with our community in a timely conversation about economic justice and the role of the arts in an era of great transformation.  It will be a thrill for me to be back onstage with so many good friends – and to be playing a fellow artistic director, Heiner Muller, one of the great theatre artists of the twentieth century.  I’m especially pleased to welcome director Michael Rohd, one of our nation’s leading thinkers on site-specific work and the role of theatre in civic dialogue.  Under his guidance, Full Circle will be a truly revolutionary experience for both our artists and our audiences, ushering in Woolly’s next phase of fearless theatre.”


From Director Michael Rohd:

“When the Berlin Wall fell, people had to survive amidst a shifting world order; be it currency, bureaucracy, or re-drawn borders, one’s experience of the world was anything but stable. Chuck's provocative and often ridiculous reimagining of history is largely a travelogue that follows two women, a German student and an American socialite, across this uncertain landscape. Rather than sit in the theater and watch this voyage, we're staging the production throughout the Woolly building, inviting audiences to navigate the story with us and have their own experience of changing rules and shifting perspectives.”


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Sarah Marshall in Boom (2008)


Kate Eastwood Norris in She Stoops to Comedy (2007)


Woolly Mammoth would like to thank the following patrons for their generous support of Full Circle:

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
Joan & David Maxwell
J. Chris Babb & James Martin
E & B Family Trust
Scott & Evelyn Schreiber
Patricia Smith
Gerry Widdicombe
Judy & Leo Zickler


Show Art Concept & Design:
Carolyn Sewell Design