Tag Archives: Communications

What is the Role Technology Plays in Your Life?

Here at Woolly we love to hear what our audiences are saying! At the Pay-What-You-Can performances of The Agony and the Ecstasy of  Steve Jobs this past Monday and Tuesday, we surveyed our audience members and asked them the question: What is the role technology plays in your life? Here are some of the responses that we got:

“I’m online so much that my students and colleagues worry when they haven’t seen me online for awhile.” ~Erik Larson, 41

“My life is dependent on Google services (gmail, calendar, contacts, gchat, Googledocs, greader, blogger, etc.) So I decided NOT to go back to China (for awhile) after the Chinese government blocked the Google service there.” ~ Fang Fang, 26

“Just that I’m so bad at it and I want to do better.” ~Mary Scarpa, 56

“I find the Internet rather terrifying: its immensity, its vacuousness, its inherent ever-expanding formlessness.” ~ John Boonstra, 26

“I went to Canada this past summer for vacation. I only brought my phone for navigation, communication, and planning. When I lost reception as I crossed the border, I was hobbled: no map, address, phone numbers, or any idea where I was going. Thrown straight back to 1992! But it was one of the most exciting times and I had more and better interactions with that friend than I have in a long time.” ~ Aubri O’Connor, 27

“I come across very informed to people who don’t understand it. I taught someone to cut and paste in 2004. He looked over- no joke- and exclaimed ‘This cut and paste thing is amazing!’” ~ Lorin Kleinman, 41

“Technology hates me.” ~Anonymous

“Often, especially with older colleagues at work. One time a colleague came to me with a data CD in a jewel case and asked me to open it. I immediately thought she needed help accessing files on the CD, so I opened it…and then she stopped me and said, ‘Wait, do that again.’ Yeah…” ~ Carly Borgmeier, 30

“One time at technology camp…” ~ Jan Remissong, 46

“I conducted a relationship by Skype. We were about to wed online, but my finace’s parents couldn’t comprehend the whole idea! Oops! I also keep connected with my family and friends in Uganda, Kenya, and Rwanda.” ~ Bigz Aloysious Bigirwa, 30

http://blog.ich-wars-nicht.ch/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/foreplay.png” ~ Juliette Larmier, 24

“Drunken texting is the downfall of my life.” ~ Ruth Rasby, 24

“I know that a lot of folks are scared of technology, and I’ve certainly had some moments of technological frustration or panic. But in general, I think of it as a good thing- something that lets us do more things quicker and be connected to more people in our lives.” ~ Layne Amerikaner, 25

What is the role that technology plays in YOUR life? Let us know!

Interested in contributing your thoughts to the blog? E-mail brooke@woollymammoth.net

~ Brooke Miller, Press and Digital Content Manager


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A Quick Byte Out of the Woolly Apple Orchard

During the run of The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, Woolly will have an “Apple Orchard” in our lobby, where we “harvested” a variety of Apple products from the ’80s until today. Come see the evolution of technology right before your own eyes! Here is a sneak peak of the items on display in our lobby:

Apple IIe:

Released in January 1983 and originally sold for $1395, the Apple ][e was to be one of the most successful Apple computers ever (it was manufactured and sold for nearly 11 years with few changes). One of its defining characteristics was its ability to input and display lowercase letters for the first time. In 1984 the name was changed from Apple ][e to Apple //e, coinciding with the release of the Apple //c.

Apple ImageWriter II:

Released in September 1985 for $595, the Apple ImageWriter II was the first printer built exclusively for the Macintosh series. Because of the relatively small price and high printing speed, the ImageWriter series was extremely popular amongst consumer computer users. In 1990 the ImageWriter series was replaced by the ink-jet StyleWriter series.

Newton Message Pad:

Released in August 1993 for $800, the Newton Message Pad was Apple’s first completely new product in many years. It represented Apple’s entry into (and perhaps creation of) an entirely new market: Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs). The PDA market was barely present when the Newton was released, but other companies were working on similar devices.

The Newton Message Pad featured a variety of personal-organization applications, such as an address book, a calendar, and notes, along with communications capabilities such as faxing and email. It featured a trainable handwriting recognition engine, but unfortunately this engine was notoriously difficult to use. While later Newton models would show improved handwriting recognition, the Newton’s reputation for poor recognition would haunt it for years to come.

Apple Quicktake 200:

Released in February 1997 for $600, the Apple QuickTake was one of the first consumer digital cameras. The QuickTake 100 and 200 models were only compatible with Macintosh computers, while the 150 model was also compatible with Microsoft Windows. However, none of these models sold well because other companies such as Kodak, Canon and Nikon entered the market with brands that consumers associated with photography.

iMac (Rev. C):

Released in August 1998 for $1300, the iMac was Apple’s computer for the new millennium. Aimed at the low-end consumer market and designed with the internet in mind, the iMac was positioned by Apple as the most original new computer since the original Mac in 1984, and came in a stylish new case design, with translucent “Bondi Blue” plastics. It also included a newly-designed USB keyboard and mouse. By January 1999, the Rev. C iMac came in five bright new colors: Blueberry, Strawberry, Lime, Tangerine and Grape.

iBook G4:

Released in October 2003 for $1099, the iBook was much smaller than its predecessor, the PowerBook G4 and included a faster G3 processor, more RAM, VGA out, stereo speakers, and a higher resolution screen. It also was the first Mac to include a “combo” DVD-ROM/CD-RW drive in the high-end model.

iPod mini 4GB (Second Generation):

Released in February 2005 for $199, the iPod mini was built around a one inch 4 GB hard drive, and raised the bar for portability in a hard disk music player. It was small enough to wear comfortably on an arm band, but large enough to hold nearly 1,000 songs. Apple believed that its small size and consumer appeal would make up for its high price. As Apple hoped, iPod mini’s sold extremely well—the demand vastly outstripped the supply long into the summer months.

The iPod mini was available in five metallic colors: silver, gold, pink, blue and green. In order to fit everything in such a small package, Apple had to change the layout of the buttons from the existing iPod design. The result, which Apple called a “ClickWheel” allowed users to use the wheel as a touch-sensitive scroll wheel, or push on the four corners to click the buttons.


Released in May 2006 (original) for $1099, the MacBook replaced the existing 12- and 14-inch iBooks and 12-inch PowerBook model, completing the transition of Apple’s portable computers to Intel Processors. At the time it was considered one of Apple’s best computers, and around 2008 became Apple’s best selling Macintosh in history. The original MacBooks were available in black or white, and was the second (after the MacBook Pro) Mac to adopt Apple’s “MagSafe” power connector. The MacBook was Apple’s first notebook to use features now standard in its notebooks, such as the glossy display, the sunken keyboard design, and the non-mechanical magnetic latch.

iPhone 3GS:

Released in June 2009 for $199, the iPhone 3GS included both specification and feature enhancements over it’s predecessor, the wildly successful iPhone 3G. The iPhone 3GS included a higher-resolution video-capable camera, an integrated Magnetometer, and Voice Control. It shipped with iPhone OS 3.0 (which was also made available for previous iPhone and iPod Touch models), which included software enhancements, such as cut & paste, pervasive landscape keyboard, search, internet tethering, and a voice memos application. In June 2010, both models were replaced by the iPhone 4.

~ Brooke Miller, Press and Digital Content Manager (thanks to Rachel Grossman and Mike Daisey for their help!)

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The Evolution of a Technology Giant

Our next show, The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs has its first Pay-What-You-Can performance this Monday, March 21 at 8 pm, and we’re super excited! With the release of the iPad 2 last week, this show became extremely relevant and timely. Last Friday the Marketing and Communications staff here at Woolly spent the day at three different Apple store locations in the DC area, talking to people waiting in line for the iPad 2 and hearing about how much they love Apple products. If you haven’t checked it out yet, go to our Facebook page to see some hilarious photos, and check out our twitter hashtag #ShowUsYouriCrazy.

Learning about the history of the Apple company is pretty fascinating: a company created by two college dropouts, who built a computer in their garage that no one wanted to buy. Today, their company has a higher market share than most of their competitors, including the creator of Dell computers, who once said if he owned Apple he would “shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders.” Much of Apple’s success came from expanding the focus of their company to reach not just computers, but to take over the digital music industry, cell phones, PC tablets, and whatever else the techies over in Silicon Valley will think of next. I learned some interesting facts when researching the history of the company, did anyone else know that the first Apple store opened here in the DC area? (It was in McLean, VA). Here are some highlights of the history and major milestones of the Apple company:

1972-1975: Steve Jobs meets Hewlett Packard employee Steve Wozniak, who invites him to join the ‘Homebrew Computer Club,’ where electronic-enthusiasts met, shared knowledge, and helped each other with their self-made computers. Jobs persuades Wozniak to build a personal computer with him, and they begin working on the Apple I.

1976: Jobs and Wozniak finish the Apple I and offer their low-cost PC to Hewlett Packard and then Atari, but neither company is interested. After being turned down, Jobs insists on producing the computer on their own so he sells his old Volkswagen and Wozniak sells his HP calculator. They gather around $1,250 and begin producing the first Apple I computers. On April 1st, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Jobs’ former colleague Ronald Wayne found Apple Computer. Apple I computers are first sold to a local computer store for $666.66 each.

1977-1979: The Apple II is released, selling for $1,295. Jef Raskin begins working on a computer concept, and the project is code-named ‘Macintosh’ after Raskin’s favorite type of apples: McIntosh.

1980: Apple sales skyrocket to $1 million per year and the company goes public at $22 a share. Within a year, the stocks’ value increases by 1700%. The Apple III is released and is sold for $4,340-$7,800 depending on the configuration.

1981-1983: Apple Computer, Inc. and Apple Corps, the recording company of the Beatles enter a secret agreement, allowing Apple Computer to use the name Apple for computer-related products. Apple hits $1 billion in annual sales.

1984: The ‘1984’ Apple ad is aired at the Super Bowl XVIII, which introduces the Macintosh computer. The Macintosh is an easy to use, all-in-one desktop computer with graphical user interface (Macintosh system software), retailing for $2,495.

1985: Steve Wozniak decides to leave Apple Computer, Inc. Tension between Jobs and CEO Sculley escalates: Sculley strips Jobs off all operational responsibilities- he remains chairman of Apple but has no influence on company decisions. Jobs eventually resigns from Apple and reveals his plans to found a new company to the Apple executives, and informs them that five Apple employees will follow him to the new company.

1985: Sculley signs a contract with Microsoft that grants Microsoft permission to use some Mac GUI (Graphical User Interface) technologies if Microsoft continues producing software for the Mac (Word, Excel). Based on this contract, Apple loses all lawsuits over copyright infringements against Microsoft in the following years.

1986-1988: Jobs agrees not to hire Apple employees for six months and not to build computers that were competitive with Apple’s. Steve Jobs founds his new company, called NeXT, Inc. Apple sues Microsoft and Hewlett Packard accusing them of violating copyrights of Apple on the Macintosh System Software. (Windows 2.0.3 features Mac-like icons).

1989-1991: Apple Corps sues Apple Computer accusing it of violating the terms of the agreement of 1981 by building computers with the capability of producing synthesized music. Apple Computer, Inc. pays Apple Corps $26.5 million. The lawsuit is settled.

1993: Apple releases the first PDA (Newton MessagePad). Although highly anticipated by the press, the Newton’s handwriting recognition fails to deliver the announced reliabilty, and Apple drops the Newton division only four years after the introduction of the first Newton MessagePad.

1993: The court decides that Windows 2.0.3 was covered by the 1985 deal between Apple and Microsoft. Sculley resigns from Apple and becomes chairman and CEO of Spectrum.

1996-1997: Apple Computer Inc. takes over NeXT Computer, Inc. for $430 million. Jobs returns to Apple due to the NeXT deal. Apple announces a $740 million loss in their second quarter. Gil Amelio resigns from his post as president and CEO of Apple, and Steve Jobs becomes the interim CEO of Apple.

1998-2000: Apple officially returns to profitability with Steve Jobs’ announcement of $47 million profit in the first quarter. The iMac is released and becomes the fastest selling PC in history. Steve Jobs officially becomes CEO of Apple again.

2001: Apple offers an application called iTunes for free download at www.apple.com. Apple opens its first retail store in McLean, VA, and eventually opens another 25 stores across the US. Steve Jobs introduces the iPod, a portable hard-disk MP3 player with 5 GB capacity (holding up to 1,000 MP3 songs). Additionally, Apple releases iTunes 2 which is required for transferring MP3 files from Mac to iPod.

2003: Apple Corps/Records sues Apple Computer (again) over the use of the name Apple in conjunction with the iTunes Music Store, which allows the user to download music from the internet. Apple introduces iTunes 4.1 for Mac and Windows, making Apple’s hugely successful iTunes Music Store available for the PC.

2004: Apple’s iTunes Music Store becomes available in Germany, France and the UK. It is the only commercially successful legal online music download service on the market with over 70% market share and over 70 million songs sold within one year.

2006: Jobs announced Apple would begin producing Intel-based computers: the Mac Pro, MacBook and MacBook Pro replace the PowerBook, PowerMac and iBook. Apple’s market cap surpassed that of Dell.

2007-2008: Jobs announces that Apple Computer, Inc. would now be known as Apple, Inc. because computers are no longer the single focus of the company (with its new ventures into the mobile electronic devices business). The first iPhone is released and 6.1 million were sold over five quarters. Apple’s share prices passed the $100 mark. Apple became the third largest mobile handset supplier in the world due to the popularity of the iPhone

2009: Jobs took a six-month leave of absence due to illness. Despite his absence, Apple had its best non-holiday quarter during the recession with a revenue of $8.16 billion and a profit of $1.21 billion.

2010: The iPad is released and sold more than 500,000 in its first week. 14.8 million were sold wordwide in 2010, representing 75% of the tablet PC sales at the end of 2010. Apple’s market cap exceeded that of its competitor Microsoft for the first time since 1989. Apple shares hit an all time high of $300.

2011: Steve Jobs once again announces a leave of absence due to illness, and the iPad 2 is released.








~ Brooke Miller, Press and Digital Content Manager

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VIB Pay-What-You-Can Observations

Monday and Tuesday of this week were our two Pay-What-You-Can performances for In the Next Room or the vibrator play. This time around, a few of our staff members worked the line in various ways with the intention of having engaging interactions with our patrons. I was asked to present the results in a senior staff meeting on Wednesday, and instead of editorializing the content I thought I’d just copy and paste my notes here (typos and all!):

Experience with OMLOTR and what I learned

  • most were happy to chat
  • most were at Woolly for the first time
  • many were slightly bored. I noticed they played with cards, books, iPads, phone. As a solution I passed out the season brochure
  • since the line was inside, people asked if we could open the cafe
  • a few asked what to do in the area before the show started

Intention behind VIB PWYC

  • To resolve issue of what to do, I had the idea to pass out a coupon to Busboys as another way to engage our show sponsor and to help the patrons find a place to eat.
  • Invite connectivity to “connect” with the audience.
  • Continue market research with person to person contact

This is what happened

  • Sales goodie bag
  • Max secret desires on Monday
  • Rachel podcast on Tuesday
  • Alli survey on Mon, Katie survey on Tues
  • After sell-out on both days I (and Rachel and Tom) grabbed postcards in the lobby that had the schedule on the back to assist patrons with being able to more easily select a future performance date

This is what we experienced


  • people upset about us selling out. could we have a counter? Why can’t we let them know?
  • Several people (mostly overflow) asked about other ticket programs. Under 25, stampede seats.
  • most people were happy to talk to me
  • one asked me if i was passing out information on the history of the vibrator.
  • since we didn’t do the drawing on stage as it said on the form, I said that they would have to provide some sort of contact information in order that we get in touch with them should they win. This is the number of surveys that were returned. (show large stack)
  • Didn’t get great qualitative data, but it seemed like it was a fair mix of young and old, first timers and newbies.
  • Some people were anxious about the weather.. would they be moved inside?
  • Someone mentioned that Shakes. does it online now. Why don’t we, do which I responded they wouldn’t be able to talk to us!
  • One was a regular PWYCer. She didn’t know we had moved the time to 6. “It always started at 6:30!” Since she didn’t regularly check our website/FB/Twitter she didn’t know about the change.
  • Maura’s observation about the younger theatre students paying more than the older patrons she spoke to.
  • Steven Roth anecdote about value.

As a result this is what I’d like to propose…

My proposal to the group followed. I’ll be sure to keep you updated on what we do for future PWYCs!

~Alli Houseworth, Communications and New Media Manager

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The Challenges of Selling a Show that has “Vibrator” in the Title

My mother is nervous. She’s not sure she wants to bring her regular theatre date (who is a man) to In the Next Room or the vibrator play. “Maybe I’ll ask Liz,” she says, “See if she wants to go.”

Vibrator! We say it a lot these days. Aaron Posner did a whole podcast on vibrators this week. We toss out puns at staff meetings. My desk is littered with post-it notes with funny vibrator jokes. I circled an image of vibrating underwear that appeared in today’s Express and left it in our kitchen. But my mom still hasn’t decided when she’s coming, or who she’s coming with. And she’s not alone. The box office is getting calls from patrons who wonder, exactly how sexual is it? It seems as if that V word actually might turn some people off. (Pun intended.)

Here at Woolly it seems like for every time we make a joke about the show we are then faced with the challenge of countering that joke, and must remind ourselves that our positioning should be less about the vibrator (ha…_ and more about the intimacy – which is what the show is really about anyway. In fact, the original title of the play was In the Next Room. Sarah didn’t tack on the “or the vibrator play” until later. Personally I am thankful that she didn’t end up calling it In the Next Room or the intimacy play because, geez, the only thing harder to talk about than vibrators is intimacy.

So this was our challenge: for each piece of programming we come up with about vibrators, we must also be mindful of the deeper themes of the show. (Oh! Pun! So sorry…) For example, when you come to Woolly to see vibrator you might come on a night where there will be a cosmo happy hour, and perhaps at that cosmo happy hour is a passion party demonstration. Then, if you come back, maybe you’ll catch one of our salons about how intimacy in relationships is becoming increasingly difficult to attain as our society is being inundated with new technologies that arguably distance you from an other rather than connect you with them. Rachel Grossman, our Connectivity Director has done a lovely job bringing each department in the theatre together to collaborate on the right mixture of programming that would give our audiences a deeper and more explosive engagement with the work. (Oh… pun. Oh, man…)

It is my responsibility to create the editorial arc of the Woolly Blog and Podcasts and I like to think the editorial arc of the posts you’ll read during vibrator reflect the journey we at Woolly have gone through while producing this show, from both the artistic and administrative angles. We start with a charged excitement of first rehearsals, of chatter about vibrators and then we slip into (sorry… pun…) the harder (sorry…) topics to discuss: Intimacy. Love. Relationships.

We don’t – I don’t – have puns for those things. They are not so easy to joke about. And they are not so easy to blog about. I’d almost prefer to ask people to write about their own orgasmic experiences than to ask them to take a very close look at themselves, at their work, at their collaborators in both and work and life, and ask them to really ask themselves, to write about, to be interviewed for a podcast and have to answers the question: Is this working? Was this the right choice? Are we going to be ok?

~Alli Houseworth, Communications and New Media Manager

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Facebook Polls: A Social Media Experiment (or the art of democratic marketing in the digital age)

A couple of weeks ago I posted a status on our Facebook Page that asked our Fans to help position In the Next Room or the vibrator play in the marketplace by choosing which of three positioning statements made them want to come see the play. The idea came out of a meeting I had with our Marketing Director and our Managing Director in which we came up with three strong positioning statements, and had trouble choosing just one because, frankly, each could work. That’s when the decision was made to ask our Facebook Fans their opinion. Or, rather, I believe the exact statement was, “let’s put it on Facebook! See what happens!” Very Woolly.

These were the three positioning statements that were posted on Facebook:

  1. Sarah Ruhl’s Pulitzer Prize-finalist In the Next Room or the vibrator play comes to Woolly…
  2. From the author of The Clean House and Dead Man’s Cell Phone comes In the Next Room or the vibrator play
  3. Fresh off a Broadway run comes Sarah Ruhl’s In the Next Room or the vibrator play

And, these are the apprehensions I had about conducting this experiment:

  1. Not all Woolly theatregoers are on Facebook. Therefore, whoever responded to this post would be self-selecting in two ways: first, they are on Facebook to begin with, and second, they are moved to comment and vote.
  2. Often, when asked to “survey” or express an opinion in public, people lie. (Seriously! It’s true!) How would we know if the “winning” statement would actually turn out to be a winner?
  3. I had very strong opinions about option three. Having recently moved to DC from NYC where I spent the last several years in the commercial theatre world, I have very strong opinions about using the word “Broadway” when it comes to positioning a play. I am very much of the mindset that just because a show was on Broadway, or is going to Broadway, doesn’t mean that it is a good show. (I mean, often it’s not very good. Let’s just be honest about that.) Unfortunately most fairly novice theatregoers do not know this, or at least do not agree with me. I said in the meeting with the Marketing Director and the Managing Director that I just did not know what I would do if option three won. There might have been a war. Me vs. DC audiences, and that’s no way to start a new job.
  4. Who cares. Let’s be honest. Who cares how you position a play? Most people don’t think marketing is sexy so why on earth would they be willing to care enough to comment back on our post?
  5. Would anyone comment at all? Our Facebook Page was still very green. That’s one reason I was hired, to beef it up. Would anyone comment? Engage with us? Start a dialogue…? Was this the right way to accomplish my basic goals – to be more transparent and be more engaging – or should I post a photo of a cast member instead?

And this is what happened:

  1. Option one, the Pulitzer Prize-finalist won. Option three (Broadway) came in a very close second. If you look at our ads today, our press releases, our website, you will see the use of “Pulitzer Prize-finalist.” (Full disclosure: That was my favorite option! But, does it really matter what I think…?)
  2. 29 people commented on the status, the most comments we had ever received on a single Facebook post.
  3. In addition to the options we laid out we also got other suggestions, anything from a conservative, “You could also call it Tony-nominated,” to a more radical, “In the Next Room or the vibrator play by Sarah Ruhl. If you don’t come see our play, we’ll just have to play with ourselves,” which showed not only that our audiences are smart and witty but that the question sparked a little dialogue… which is the point of social media, and the purpose behind so many of the connectivity initiatives we do here.

In retrospect I think this experiment was a success and validated two theories that are often tossed about when discussing social media in this industry:

  1. Ask a question in your status! People will respond.
  2. Though not proven, it has been hypothesized that the theatres’ social media users have a stronger response to posts that involve the business side of things instead of the artistic side of things. This is a very new theory but I’m thinking it might be true.

But, most importantly, I consider the experiment a success because it leaves me asking questions. Do our Facebook fans like to talk more about the art or the business? What would have happened if the Broadway option had won? Is it the right choice for those of us in marketing and communications to relinquish a bit of control and let the audience decide?

What do you think?

~Alli Houseworth, Communications and New Media Manager

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