ABOUT THE SHOW
“How does one draw a line between Salome and the Kitty Kat Lounge?”
– Justice Antonin Scalia
Elevator Repair Service—the innovative company that created Gatz—comes to Woolly with their newest show, Arguendo. This time, they bring their playful physicality and incisive wit to the Supreme Court and the 1991 First Amendment case Barnes vs. Glen Theatre, where a group of go-go dancers challenged a state ban on public nudity.
Using verbatim oral arguments and breathtaking projections by celebrated visual artist Ben Rubin, 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.
Click here to purchase tickets.
Best Availability and Prices:
Best availability and prices are on Saturday and Sunday matinees and Sunday evenings.
For a better deal, consider a Six-Pack. That’s six tickets at $40 each to use in any combination over the rest of the season.
Not satisfied yet? With 10 or more you can get group tickets starting at just $37 and no fees!
Arguendo will run approximately 70 minutes without an intermission. After each performance, there will be a 5 minute break immediately followed by a post-show discussion. You can see the full list of post-show discussion panelists and moderators for each performance here.
You also can add you voice to our online discussion by watching our “A Woolly Mammoth Series: Expression vs. Censorship” below (or here) and sharing your thoughts with us on Twitter or Facebook.
PRAISE FOR ARGUENDO
“The serious legal scholarship of Monty Python
meets the comedy stylings of the US Supreme Court”
The Washington Post
“COOL, obsessive genius”
The New York Times
“ANARCHIC, INVENTIVE, and SURREAL”
“Full of SUPREMELY NAUGHTY CHARM”
The Village Voice
“Sensationally silly and thoroughly FUN”
DC Metro Theatre Arts
“MAGNIFICENT and extremely funny…
thought-provoking, eye-opening experience”
DC Metro Theatre Arts
“Moments of ARTISTIC GENIUS”
Broadway World DC
“These gifted comic actors…can wring a laugh from an inflection”
Washington City Paper
“Supremely talented and well-directed cast”
“A thrilling feeling of ‘how did they pull that off?’”
DC Theatre Scene
“Who knew that oral arguments before the Supreme Court could be so, well, funny?”
“Any courtroom drama is dramaturgical by definition.
But this one is heightened to great comedic effect,
with all the tics and mannerisms of an outsized opera.”
“Increasingly absurdist and madcap production”
“Delicious… there are few things more fun than
hearing the august justices say the word ‘pasties’”
MD Theatre Guide
“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. Their word-for-word rendition of “The Great Gatsby” (called simply Gatz) toured the world to rave reviews, and now they’re focusing on a uniquely Washington topic, the Supreme Court. Playfully riffing on one of the most colorful cases of the 1990s—Barnes vs. Glen Theatre—Arguendo 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? Woolly is proud to welcome Elevator Repair Service for their first extended stay in the nation’s capital.”
Artistic Director, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
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.
Show art by Carolyn Sewell.
HOUSE LIGHTS UP
House Lights Up is a series of high-profile panel discussions, lectures, debates, film screenings, concerts, readings, lobby experience activities, and other special events, curated by Woolly’s Connectivity Department.
Immediately following every performance
In the Theatre
Join us immediately following every performance of Arguendo! Each discussion will feature a panel of legal experts including prominent judges; first amendment, appellate, and Supreme Court lawyers; legal journalists and bloggers; constitutional scholars; and representatives from First Amendment advocacy organizations like the ACLU.
To see the full list of panelists, click here.
Elevator Repair Service, a theater ensemble, was founded by director John Collins and a group of actors in 1991. Since that time, ERS has built a body of work that has earned it a loyal following and made it one of New York’s most highly-acclaimed experimental theater companies.
The group’s theater pieces are built around a broad range of subject matter and literary forms. They combine elements of slapstick comedy, hi-tech and lo-tech design, both literary and found text, found objects and discarded furniture, and the group’s own highly developed style of choreography.
ERS creates its performances through extended periods of collaboration. Sources for the group’s work include novels, non-fiction writings, films, plays, television programs, and various other media. Each ERS piece is developed over the course of a season through several work-in-progress showings to small audiences and culminates in an extended run in New York. ERS’ first show was presented in December 1991 and since 1997, its work has toured the United States and Europe.
The company has performed at New York Theatre Workshop, The Public Theater, Performance Space 122, The Performing Garage, HERE, The Ontological at St. Mark’s Church, The Flea, The Kitchen, and Soho Rep. Abroad, ERS performances have been presented in Holland, Belgium, Slovenia, Austria, Norway, Germany, France, Portugal, Switzerland, The Czech Republic, Australia, Ireland, The United Kingdom and Singapore; and, in the United States, the ensemble has been presented in Boston, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Chicago, Hanover (NH), Troy (NY), Columbus, Seattle, Minneapolis, Houston, Burlington, Washington D.C., Sarasota (FL) and Portland (OR).
ERS has received numerous awards including The Foundation for Contemporary Arts Theater Grant; the Theatre Communications Group’s Peter Zeisler Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement; a Guggenheim Fellowship for artistic director John Collins; Eliot Norton Awards for Outstanding Director, Outstanding Visiting Production and Outstanding Actor; Lucille Lortel Awards for Alternative Theatrical Experience and Best Director; and an Obie for Performance.
ERS is and has been supported with public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency, and from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. The company is and has also been supported with funds from the Edward T. Cone Foundation, The Greenwall Foundation, the Alliance of Resident Theaters-N.Y., the J.P. Morgan-Chase Fund for Small Theatres, The Edith Lutyens and Norman Bel Geddes Foundation, Altria Group, Inc., the Mental Insight Foundation, Off-Broadway Angels,
the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, and the Association of Performing Arts Presenters Ensemble Theatre Collaborations Grant Program, a component of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Theatre Initiative, and the Foundation for Contemporary Arts.
Arguendo runs April 1, 2014 to April 20, 2014 with performances Wednesday-Friday at 8pm, Saturday at 3pm and 8pm, and Sunday at 2pm and 7pm. Tuesday, April 1 will be a Pay What You Can performance and begin at 8pm.
Arguendo will run for an additional weekend from April 25 – 27, with performances Friday-Saturday at 8pm, Saturday at 3pm, and Sunday at 2pm and 7pm.
(Pay What You Can performances are made possible, in part, by the generous support of The Weissberg Foundation.)
Extension Performance Dates include Friday, April 25 (performance at 8pm); Saturday, April 26 (performances at 3pm and 8pm); and Sunday, April 27 (performances at 2pm and 7pm).
Tickets to Arguendo start at $35 and can be purchased here.
See Woolly shows with your friends: A group of 10 or more can purchase tickets as low as $32, with no fees! Book soon, prices for Arguendo will rise on April 1! Learn more by visiting the Group Discounts page!
Other Woolly ticket offers include:
Patrons 30 & Under
Patrons who are 30 or under (with valid ID) may purchase tickets for $20 seven calendar days in advance of the performance date in which you are interested.
Discount for First Responder Men & Women
Those serving in the police and fire departments are invited to purchase discounted tickets for 10% off Woolly’s regular ticket prices for each show in our season.
Woolly offers Pay-What-You-Can tickets for the first two performances (usually Monday and Tuesday) of every production. Tickets are sold at the theatre the evening two hours prior to showtime.
Learn more about Woolly Offers (and military discounts) here.