Describe the Night

May 27 - June 23, 2019

  • By Rajiv Joseph
  • Directed by John Vreeke
  • Two hours and 45 minutes, with two intermissions

In 1920, Russian Jewish writer Isaac Babel starts a diary while wandering the countryside with the Red Cavalry. In 2010, after the crash of an aircraft carrying the Polish president, his diary is discovered among the wreckage. What did Babel write, and why does it matter so much to a low-level KGB agent who may or may not be Vladimir Putin? Describe the Night uncovers the mystery by tracing the stories of seven lost souls connected across decades by history, fiction, lies, and blood.

Pulitzer Prize-finalist Rajiv Joseph returns to Woolly after hit productions of Guards at the Taj (2016) and Gruesome Playground Injuries (2010). Describe the Night is a “work of major ambition” (New York Times) that will feel both timeless and tuned in to the age of #FakeNews.

Directed by Woolly company member John Vreeke
Featuring Woolly company members Tim Getman and Kate Eastwood Norris
Featuring designs by Woolly company members Misha Kachman, Colin K. Bills, and Ivania Stack

2018 Obie Award Winner, Best New American Play

Describe the Night Calendar

Describe the Night is made possible by a generous gift from Louis & Bonnie Cohen


"Rajiv Joseph has an ear for the heartbeat of the moment."


About the Playwright: Rajiv Joseph

RAJIV JOSEPH’S play Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo was a 2010 Pulitzer Prize finalist for Drama and also awarded a grant for Outstanding New American Play by the National Endowment for the Arts. His play Guards at the Taj was a 2016 Obie Winner for Best New American Play and 2016 Lucille Lortel Winner for Best Play. His play Archduke received its World Premiere this spring at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. Other plays include Gruesome Playground Injuries, The Monster at the Door, Animals Out of Paper, The Lake Effect, The North Pool, Guards at The Taj, Mr. Wolf, and Describe the Night.

Rajiv has been awarded artistic grants from the Whiting Foundation, United States Artists and the Harold & Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust.  He is a board member of the Lark Play Development Center in New York City, where he develops all his plays.

He served for three years in the Peace Corps in Senegal and now lives in Brooklyn, NY. 

About the Director: John Vreeke

JOHN VREEKE has directed for Woolly for the past fifteen years. His assignments include, but are not limited to, Rajiv Joseph's Gruesome Playground Injuries and Guards at the Taj, Lisa D'Amour's Detroit and Cherokee, Kris Diaz’s The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Diety, which received nine Helen Hayes nominations, Tony Kushner’s Homebody/Kabul, and Sam Hunter’s A Bright New Boise. He is a six-time Helen Hayes Nominee for Best Director. John also directed Tony Kushner’s epic play The Intelligent Homosexuals Guide to Socialism and Capitalism with a Key to the Scriptures for Theater j, and, for the Round House Theater,  Nicki Silver’s The Lyons and Annie Baker’s Uncle Vanya. He is a regular director at Metro Stage with award winning shows such as Stoppard’s Heroes, and he directed Stephen Adley Gurigi’s The Last Days of Judas Iscariot twice for Forum Theater. Directing credits at other DC area theaters include: Washington Shakespeare Company, Everyman Theatre, Olney Theatre Center,. Source Festival, Charter Theatre, Theater Alliance, Kennedy Center TYA, Imagination Stage, and the Helen Hayes Awards Ceremony. He started his professional work as a director decades ago with Nina Vance at the Alley Theatre. He worked with the Arkansas Repertory Theatre, Attic Theatre in LA, Salt Lake Acting Company, and First Stage in Milwaukee. He was the Associate Producer and Casting Associate for the CBS TV Series: Northern Exposure.

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