Describe the Night

May 27 - June 23, 2019

  • By Rajiv Joseph
  • Directed by John Vreeke
  • Two hours and 45 minutes, with one 15-minute intermission

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 generous gifts from Louis & Bonnie Cohen and Jeffrey P. Cunard

Describe the Night uses a special stage and seating arrangement to enhance the audience experience. View the seat map here.

Please be advised that Describe the Night contains instances of haze and fog, flashing light effects, and simulated gunshots.


"DESCRIBE THE NIGHT is a must-see for any serious DC area theatergoer"

Broadway World

"You can understand why it won last year’s Obie Award as best new American play"

Washington Post

"A bold and adventurous production"

DC Metro Theater Arts

"A spellbinding evening of theatre"

DC Theatre Scene

"Resonates [...] in our upside-down world"


"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. He has twice won the Obie Award for Best New American Play, first in 2016 with Guards at the Taj (also a 2016 Lortel Winner for Best Play) and then, last year, for Describe the Night. Other plays include Archduke, Gruesome Playground Injuries, Animals Out of Paper, The Lake Effect, The North Pool and Mr. Wolf. Joseph 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 most recently directed the west coast premiere of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize winner Cost of Living by Martyna Majok. As a long time Woolly Mammoth Theatre company member he is known for his directorial and development work on second productions of plays that have gone on to become staples in the regional theater circuit. Plays such as Boom by Peter Nachtrieb and A Bright New Boise by Sam Hunter. He has worked in the DC area Theater for the past eighteen years: Mosaic, The Round House, Theater J, Metro Stage, Olney Theater, Forum, Washington Shakespeare Company, Theater Alliance, Everyman, the Kennedy Center and the Helen Hayes Awards. He has six HH nominations for best director. He is best known for his successful work on problem plays, plays that are considered difficult and risky. He began his career at the Alley Theater in Houston where he worked as the staff director for seven years before moving to Seattle where he worked as a casting associate and associate producer on the hit CBS TV series Northern Exposure.

About the Cast

Moriamo Temidayo Akibu

MORIAMO TEMIDAYO AKIBU (Urzula) is excited to be making her Woolly stage debut! They previously appeared in Woolly Mammoth’s reading of Menstruation: A Period Play. Temidayo is an actor, director, playwright, and collaborator based in Washington, DC. Some of her favorite credits include: Coffeehouse Chronicles # 124 (Ping Chong and Company at La MaMa ETC); She a Gem, How to Catch a Star (The Kennedy Center); The Ruby Sunrise (Shakespeare Theatre Company); The Interstellar Ghost Hour (Longacre Lea—Helen Hayes 2019 Outstanding Supporting Actress Helen n.) Isms: A Tragicomedy (Mosaic Theatre Company of DC); The Burst (The Keegan Theatre); Love and Information (Forum Theatre). Temidayo is a company leader with Smithsonian’s Discovery Theater. They hold a BA in Theatre from The University of Maryland. Follow her on Instagram: @xo_temidayo. They thank you for reading.

Regina Aquino

REGINA AQUINO (Yevgenia), a DC area native, trained at Duke Ellington School of the Arts, The Studio Acting Conservatory, and Manhattanville College Purchase, NY. She returns to Woolly after performing in The Arsonists (dir. Michael John Garces). Recent productions are Nell Gwynn at Folger Theatre (dir. Robert Richmond) and Theater Alliance’s The Events (dir. Colin Hovde) for which she received a Helen Hayes Awards nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress. Since 2002, she has performed locally at The Kennedy Center, Studio Theatre, Synetic Theater, Rorschach Theatre, and many others. Broadway: Lincoln Center & Kennedy Center TYA: Where Words Once Were (dir. Colin Hovde); International: Actor’s Actors Inc. Manila: Our Country’s Good. Favorite credits: Vietgone (dir. Natsu Onoda Power), Red Light Winter (dir. Joy Zinoman), Brainpeople (dir. Catherine Tripp), and Dog Sees God (dir. K A Baker - Helen Hayes Award nomination). Next up: Tiger Style! at Olney Theatre Center (dir. Natsu Onoda Power), Eureka Day at Mosaic Theater (dir. Serge Seiden), The Merry Wives of Windsor at Folger Theatre (dir. Aaron Posner).

Danny Gavigan

DANNY GAVIGAN (Vova) is honored to be back at Woolly Mammoth, where he previously appeared in Detroit by Lisa D’Amour. Favorite credits include: Dinner With Friends (Everyman Theatre); Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (Ford’s Theatre, Helen Hayes for Best Ensemble); Peer Gynt (La Jolla Playhouse); Really Really (Signature Theatre, world premiere); The Rivals (Baltimore Center Stage); Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo (Round House Theatre); and The Admission (Theater J). Danny is a company member with Everyman Theatre in Baltimore.

Tim Getman

TIM GETMAN (Nikolai) has worked onstage for over 20 years in the Washington/Baltimore area, recently seen in The Arsonists at Woolly. He has also been seen at Arena Stage, Everyman, Folger Theatre, Rep Stage, Round House, Studio Theatre, Signature Theatre, Shakespeare Theatre, and Center Stage, among others. At Woolly, Tim has also appeared in The Unmentionables, Gruesome Playground Injuries, Detroit,  Appropriate, Zombie, The Nether, and Kiss. Recent television credits include The Men Who Built America and Veep. He holds a BA from Macalester College and Trinity College, Dublin.

Jonathan David Martin

JONATHAN DAVID MARTIN (Isaac) is an actor and theater maker who creates works of performance around socially relevant subjects. Acting credits include War Horse at Lincoln Center Theater (original Broadway cast), The Heiress and Junk at Arena Stage, productions at the National Black Theatre, 59E59 Theaters, and Bushwick Starr, Theater Alliance, Two River Theater, Portland Center Stage, Shakespeare Santa Monica, Seattle Children’s Theatre, Empty Space Theatre, NMA Physical Theatre Ensemble and as a founding member of Washington Ensemble Theatre. He is the founding Co-Artistic Director of NYC-based Smoke & Mirrors Collaborative whose original works include Olityelwe (59E59 Theaters; UK and South Africa tours) Point of Departure, Head in the Sand, The Alien Nation, #HashtagProject, and Tangible Hope Project, a documentary series highlighting community change-makers across America. TV: Unforgettable and Believe. Annenberg Fellow for the Arts. MFA: NYU Graduate Acting.

Kate Eastwood Norris

KATE EASTWOOD NORRIS (Mariya) is delighted to be back among the Mammoths where she is a company member. Previous Woolly audiences may have seen her in Baby Screams Miracle, Stupid Fucking Bird, She Stoops To Comedy, Fever Dream, Full Circle, Big Love, and Bug. Kate’s favorite regional credits include productions at Berkeley Rep, Arena Stage, Studio Theatre, Folger Theatre, Portland Center Stage, Santa Cruz Shakespeare, Round House Theatre, The Humana Festival at Actor’s Theatre of Louisville 2011 and 2012, Florida Stage, Gulfshore Playhouse, Two River Theatre, Arden Theatre, Wilma Theatre, Delaware Theatre, Syracuse Stage and special appearances with the Alaskan, Baltimore, and Naples Symphony Orchestras. Kate has received two Helen Hayes awards for her work in DC, and Philadelphia’s Barrymore Award. She holds an MFA from Mary Baldwin University in Shakespeare and Performance with a Comedy emphasis and also an MA in Humanities and Creativity from Pacifica Graduate Institute.

Justin Weaks

JUSTIN WEAKS (Feliks) returns to Woolly Mammoth after appearing in BLKS and Gloria [2019 Helen Hayes nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor, Outstanding Ensemble] earlier this season. D.C. area credits include: Long Way Down, The Watsons Go To Birmingham 1963, Darius & Twig and Bud, Not Buddy (The Kennedy Center); Gem of the Ocean (Round House Theatre); Curve of Departure (Studio Theatre); Word Becomes Flesh [Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor, Outstanding Ensemble], Still Life With Rocket and Dontrell, Who Kissed the Sea (Theater Alliance); Charm (Mosaic Theater Co.); The Christians [Helen Hayes nomination] (Theater J); Lobby Hero (1st Stage). Additional regional and New York appearances include New York Theatre Workshop, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Shakespeare & Company, Barter Theatre, and Hamlet Isn’t Dead. Education/Training: Greensboro College (B.A. in Theatre).

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