Understanding HOUSE OF GOLD…some advice from Howard Shalwitz

So many people have come up to me during the previews of House of Gold to discuss the show, and it’s no surprise. Greg Moss’ devilish script, combined with Sarah Benson’s eye-popping multi-media production, yields a rich but complex theatre going experience. Knowing this in advance, Woolly has made a special offer which you may have seen in our tabloid-style playbill–you can come back to see House of Gold a second time for free, with promotional code 1036. I invite you to take advantage of this rare opportunity.  Woolly Mammoth’s mission is to produce plays that explore “the edges of theatrical style and the human experience.”  House of Gold allows us to partner with our patrons to explore just where those edges lie.

As compared with, let’s say, Sara Ruhl’s In the Next Room or the vibrator play, House of Gold is not trying to create a real world for us to lose ourselves in as audience members. By subverting our expectations for a linear narrative, and by constantly reminding us that we are in a theatrical environment, the play keeps making room for us to supply meanings of our own.  I keep thinking about our season’s theme, “a striptease of your subconscious,” and the way House of Gold functions like a Rorschach test for what’s inside our own brains.  During the play, we don’t see anything really horrible happen to JonBenet.  But because we know she was murdered, we see every character as a suspect, and our minds fill in all sorts of perversions at every turn.  The innocence of JonBenet’s relationship with Jasper serves as a sweet counterpoint to the grotesque adult characters, each of whom attempts to make her into an embodiment of his or her own unfulfilled desires.

I am enormously proud of this production, and once again amazed by how our Woolly audiences are rising to the challenge presented by one of American’s boldest and most ambitious young playwrights.  There will be many opportunities for dialogue around House of Gold, including post-show conversations after every remaining performance through November 28.  Please visit Woolly’s website for more details, and make your voice heard by e-mailing discussions@woollymammoth.net.  You can read more of my personal reflections about the show on Woolly’s blog: www.woollymammothblog.com.  I keep learning more and more about the play with every chance to talk about it, and look forward to your insights as part of our collective inquiry about House of Gold.

~Howard Shalwitz, Artistic Director

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