Woolly Mammoth's Season Continues with Elevator Repair Service's ARGUENDO, 4/1-20
Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company will present Elevator Repair Service's Arguendo, a playful and incisively witty theatricalization of the 1991 Supreme Court case in which a group of go-go dancers, citing the First Amendment, challenged an Indiana state ban on public nudity. Elevator Repair Service's Artistic Director John Collins will direct the Company in its first extended stay in Washington, DC. Originally slated to close April 20, Arguendo will be extended for an additional weekend, performing April 25-27.
Using verbatim oral arguments, breathtaking projections by celebrated visual artist Ben Rubin, and astounding physicality, Arguendo introduces us to the Justices-who try to get to the bottom of this First Amendment puzzle-and the attorneys on both sides who gamely try to keep up.
Every performance of Arguendo will be immediately followed by a post-performance conversation, each with a different celebrated legal expert including prominent US District Court judges (Judge James Boasberg, Judge Amy Jackson, Judge Ketanji Jackson, Judge Paul L. Friedman); First Amendment, appellate, and Supreme Court advocates (Walter Dellinger, Paul M. Smith, Maureen Mahoney); journalists, scholars, and bloggers (Emily Bazelon, Dahlia Lithwick, Ilya Somin); and representatives of First Amendment and constitutional organizations (Jeffrey Rosen, National Constitution Center, Arthur Spitzer, ACLU). These conversations will provide opportunities for patrons to learn more about the Court and explore how Arguendo's themes relate to larger questions about art and the First Amendment. Brief speaker profiles are listed below.
"One of America's most acclaimed ensembles, Elevator Repair Service has become an international sensation with an unlikely theatrical strategy-taking actual texts from famous novels and other sources, and turning them into riveting and intelligent theatre," says Woolly Mammoth Artistic Director Howard Shalwitz. "Their word-for-word rendition of 'The Great Gatsby' (called simply Gatz) toured the world to rave reviews. ERS has now turned its focus to a topic that is uniquely Washington-the Supreme Court. Arguendo playfully riffs on one of the most colorful cases of the 1990s-Barnes vs. Glen Theatre-and reveals the wit and wisdom of the noted Justices as they bring their high-brow erudition and left-field logic to bear on a decidedly low-brow conundrum: can nude dancers in Indiana perform totally in the nude, or must they wear pasties and g-strings? We're excited to host legal experts of note and hear them share their reactions and add their personal insight to the work on stage."
Arguendo was co-commissioned by The Public Theater, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, ArtsEmerson: The World on Stage, and Wexner Center for the Arts at The Ohio State University. Arguendo was workshopped at The Public's 2013 Under the Radar Festival and was developed in part at The Bushwick Starr, New York Theatre Workshop, Abrons Art Center, the Vineyard Arts Project, and LaMaMa ETC.
John Collins, Artistic Director of Elevator Repair Service, will helm a cast of ERS Company Members including Maggie Hoffman, Mike Iveson*, Vin Knight*, Susie Sokol, and Ben Williams*. The production team includes Set Designer David Zinn, Costume Designer Jacob A. Climer, Sound Designer Matt Tierney, Projections Designer Ben Rubin, Producer Ariana Smart Truman and Stage Manager Maurina Lioce.
*Members, Actor's Equity