Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Washington, D.C.

Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
Review by Susan Berlin | Season Schedule (updated)

Also see Susan's review of The Painted Rocks at Revolver Creek

Conrad Schott, Justin Weaks, Megan Graves,
and Eunice Hong

Photo by Tessa Castracane
In Gloria, now at Washington's Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins—MacArthur Foundation "Genius Grant" winner and theatrical provocateur—takes on a major issue of our time: is making money off a traumatic event now part of a survivor's path to healing?

The author uses humor (often painful) to follow the lives of worker bees on the staff of a New York City magazine. The editors are unseen behind their office doors, the editorial assistants backbite and gripe about the lack of advancement, the interns mostly run errands, and no one sees the situation improving. ("People used to die. There was a thing called turnover," says one of them.) Everyone is anxious about the future and their place in it, which leads to sabotage and other ways of messing with each other's heads.

Director Kip Fagan understands how the rhythms of office work can be frantic and stultifying at the same time. It's just another day, as Dean (Conrad Schott) turns up hungover again; Kendra (Eunice Hong) breezes in late after shopping; Miles the intern (Justin Weaks) avoids conversation by keeping his earbuds in; and Lorin (Ahmad Kamal) gripes about how the reason he's never been promoted out of the fact-checking department may have something to do with his majoring in French in college. Gloria (Alyssa Wilmoth Keegan) glides in and out: socially awkward, nervous, generally considered a "freak" by her co-workers, and smarting after almost no one attended her housewarming party the previous night.

The first act leads up to a disturbing incident that changes the course of everyone's lives. When the second act picks up a few months later, one survivor is preparing a book depicting the event as an eyewitness, only to discover that two co-workers are doing the same—even though neither of them was in the room when it happened.

Keegan stands out in two roles that may have more in common than either one thinks; Schott has the central journey of the plot and ably conveys Dean's shift from careerist to someone just trying to get through the day; and the other four cast members give incisive performances as they try to make the best out of a horrifying situation.

Scenic designer Misha Kachman has reconfigured the Woolly stage with a thrust area and walkway into the audience; part of the set is framed by a suspended "curtain" of frosted glass walls. Colin K. Bills' lighting design adds intensity and focus and Kelsey Hunt's costumes sharply delineate each character.

Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
September 3rd - 30th, 2018
By Branden Jacobs-Jenkins
Ani/Sasha/Callie: Megan Graves
Miles/Shawn/Rashaad: Justin Weaks
Dean/Devin: Conrad Schott
Kendra/Jenna: Eunice Hong
Gloria/Nan: Alyssa Wilmoth Keegan
Lorin: Ahmad Kamal
Directed by Kip Fagan
641 D St. N.W., Washington, DC
Ticket Information: 202-393-3939 or