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Woolly Mammoth presents Play at Home
Though COVID-19 has halted live stage experiences, theater makers have adapted to keep the show going, from cancelled high school productions to Hamilton’s early release on Disney+. Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company has partnered with a coalition of regional theaters for Play at Home, a series that shares ten-minute plays for people to perform at home with family and friends. The Play at Home website features all the scripts for free, written during quarantine by more than 100 playwrights. Woolly’s micro-commissions include works from Michael R. Jackson, who recently won the Pulitzer Prize in Drama for his autofiction musical A Strange Loop, which will have a limited run at Woolly next year before its Broadway premiere. His Play at Home contribution Trees on Broadway samples A Strange Loop’s comedic flavor by following a young oak tree who runs away from home for a career in show business. Any little ones in your life might enjoy starring in Performance Review by Mike Lew, which centers on the now too-familiar experience of a child interrupting their parent’s work-from-home setup with ulterior motives. Woolly had planned to stage Lew’s Teenage Dick, a contemporary take on Shakespeare’s Richard III set in high school, this month. Over the last few months, projects like Play at Home have stretched the boundaries of what can be considered theatre and challenged the notion it can only exist in a shared physical space. If you shimmy in a homemade tree costume or bazooka your kid with a water gun, can you still call it theatre? Why not! The plays are available at playathome.org. Free. —Mercedes Hesselroth
Browse Frank DiPerna’s website
Frank DiPerna, a major figure in D.C. photography, died on June 26 following a battle with colon cancer. He was 73. Since 1974, DiPerna had been a professor at the Corcoran College of Art and Design and later at its successor under the umbrella of George Washington University, shaping several generations of photography students. (He was City Paper staff photographer Darrow Montgomery‘s professor.) DiPerna’s own works could be experimental and at times groundbreaking, as seen in his 2018 retrospective at the American University Museum. In the 1970s, DiPerna produced pleasantly airy black-and-white images, showing a knack for detecting and recording visual oddities. Then, by the latter part of the decade, he transitioned—earlier than many of his peers—to color, including the small-format Polaroid SX-70. DiPerna’s creative peak may have come with the large-scale landscapes he produced into the early 1990s—elemental, slightly washed out collages of beiges, cocoas, blues, and wispy whites. Later, DiPerna made close-ups of such objects as fake birds and insects, and he photographed surfaces in Italy that mixed Renaissance art with advertising imagery. Check out images from each chapter of DiPerna’s professional life at his website. The images are available at frankdiperna.com. Free. —Louis Jacobson