OBIE Award-winning playwright (Eclipsed, In The Continuum), and stage and television actress (AMC's The Walking Dead) Danai Gurira returns to Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company with her rich, unflinching, and compassionate new play, The Convert, directed by Woolly Company Director Michael John Garcés (Oedipus el Rey), February 13 - March 10, 2013.
Set in 1895 amid the colonial scramble for Southern Africa, the play follows Jekesai, a young girl who escapes village life and a forced marriage arrangement, ultimately discovering Christianity under the guidance of an African teacher. However, as anti-colonial sentiments rise to a boiling point, Jekesai must choose between her new European God and the spirits of her ancestors. "Intense and deeply affecting" (Chicago Tribune), The Convert examines complex cultural and religious collisions that shaped the post-colonial world, the reverberations of which are still felt in Zimbabwe today.
The Convert, the first of a trilogy and supported by the National Endowment for the Arts Art Works grant, was commissioned by Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles and will explore Zimbabwe's coming-of-age from a female perspective. In 2012, the premiere production-a co-production between the McCarter Theatre in Princeton, NJ; the Goodman Theatre in Chicago, IL; and the Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles, CA-received The Edgerton New American Play Award, the Stavis Award, and six Ovation awards. Woolly Mammoth received a National Endowment for the Arts New Play Development grant to support the creation of the final play focused on twenty-first century Zimbabwe.
"Woolly is proud to continue our association with playwright Danai Gurira and Woolly Company Director Michael John Garcés," says Woolly Artistic Director Howard Shalwitz. "Danai's intensely personal new drama about the clash of native religion and Christianity in what is now known as Zimbabwe follows the brilliant successes of In The Continuum and Eclipsed. Heartrending and humorous, The Convert firmly establishes Danai as one the finest playwrights in our global village."
Community engagement activities surrounding The Convert are featured in Woolly's "House Lights Up!" programming profile below.
Woolly Mammoth's Season 33, themed My Roots, My Revolution, includes a group of unforgettable characters who choose whether to embrace their legacies, run from them, or invent a whole new future. Works include Kristoffer Diaz's The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity (Sept 3 - Oct 7), Mia Chung's You for Me for You (Nov 5 - Dec 2), Danai Gurira's The Convert (Feb 13 - Mar 10), Mike Daisey's American Utopias (Mar 25 - Apr 21), and Aaron Posner's Stupid Fucking Bird (May 27 - June 23). This holiday season featured Shenoah Allen and Mark Chavez's The Pajama Men: In The Middle of No One (Dec 11 - Jan 6).
Tickets for The Convert start at $35, and can be purchased through the Woolly Mammoth Box Office at 202-393-3939, online at www.woollymammoth.net, or in person at 641 D Street, NW (7th & D). For directions and parking information, please visit www.woollymammoth.net.