Fasten your seatbelts and prepare for turbulence. Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company in Northwest, in a co-production with Baltimore Center Stage, presents the regional premiere of “Ain’t No Mo,” now through Oct. 9.
Written by Jordan E. Cooper and directed by Lili-Anne Brown, The New York Times has described the play as “thrilling, bewildering, campy . . . scary, devastating and deep.”
As the curtain goes up, it’s the final boarding call for African American Airlines’ Flight 1619 bound to Africa and every Black person in the U.S. has been offered a free, one-way ticket.
And as we board the plane, we are greeted by Peaches, a beautiful drag queen and the flight agent who warns us to prepare for a bumpy ride.
In a kaleidoscope of scenes capturing the moments surrounding this outrageous departure, Cooper’s vibrant, no-holds-barred comedy examines the lives of Black Americans in the aftermath of the election of a Black president – and hurtling toward the point of no return.
Audiences should be prepared for a host of provocative topics to be discussed and depicted throughout the production including: gun violence; physical violence; national events of anti-Blackness; cultural appropriation; carceral violence; mentions of anti-Black stereotypes; racial discrimination; police violence; abortion; terrorism; racial slurs; and mentions of sexual violence.
“Jordan E. Cooper traces a path from the election of the first Black President to an alternate reality where Black Americans are offered a ticket out of this country – and take it! The result is shockingly funny and provocative, speaking to the Black experience in a real, raw and hilarious way,” said Artistic Director Maria Manuela Goyanes.
The play serves as a co-production with Stephanie Ybarra and Baltimore Center Stage and features actors Jon Hudson Odom (An Octoroon) as Peaches and Shannon Dorsey (Fairview) as Passenger 1 who return to the Woolly Mammoth stage for the first time since the pandemic.
Through a series of socially-charged vignettes, “Ain’t No Mo” dissects the state of the States – from Barack Obama’s presidency to the present day. Along the way, issues up for debate range from racism to abortion – even a spoofing of the Real Housewives franchise.
“There really is no better time to be watching this play – for better and for worse its themes
remain incredibly timely,” said Stephanie Ybarra, artistic director, Baltimore Center Stage. “Watching the Woolly and BCS teams embrace this joint venture has been thrilling and I couldn’t be prouder of this partnership.”
A solo art exhibition, “Return of the Shaolin Pencil” by Aniekan Udofia will be available in the Upper and Lower Lobbies of the theatre during the run of the production. The art opening with Udofia will be held on Sept. 18 after the matinee from 5 – 7 p.m. An art talk with Udofia will take place on Sept. 22 from 5:30-7:00 PM before the performance. These events are free and registration will be available at woollymammoth.net in the coming weeks.
Known for his large-scale paintings and murals, including the Ben’s Chili Bowl mural featuring notable Black Americans, Udofia will be presenting his first-ever showing of watercolors in this exhibition.
Woolly Mammoth no longer requires proof of vaccination for the 2022-23 season. However, masks are still required when not actively eating or drinking.