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  Play Details

Civilization (all you can eat)

Woolly Mammoth Theatre
641 D St NW Washington

Does humanity have an expiration date? Six hungry city-dwellers scramble for sustenance in this provocative vaudeville of American enterprise and ingenuity at the dawn of the Obama age. But while they’re busy cooking up schemes for love and success, the beasts of agribusiness are closing in! Sarah Marshall stars as Big Hog, the ultimate capitalist underdog, along with Danny Escobar, Naomi Jacobson, and an award-winning Washington cast.

Thru - Mar 11, 2012


Show Type: Comedy/Drama

Box Office: 202-393-3939

www.woollymammoth.net


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  Review Round-Up

DCist - Recommended

"... In Jason Grote's Civilization (all you can eat), premiering this month at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company (after a three-show festival run last summer in New York), U.S. society is boiled down into a bunch of gluttonous, frenzied, sexually frustrated consumers. In other words, just about normal."
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Benjamin Freed


WeLoveDC - Somewhat Recommended

"... The play ends by flashing forward to 2012 in a moment that is suppose to hit a climax in Big Hog’s big journey but in the end falls flat. It maybe true that Big Hog will eat us one day, but this show has left me hungry and unsatisfied. Perhaps they should of tried featuring Snickers instead of Twix."
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Patrick Pho


Talkin Broadway - Recommended

"... The characters are exaggerations, but director Howard Shalwitz has worked to bring out the substance behind the façades. Marshall has put a lot of thought into her magnetic performance: the hunched posture (she spends most of the play in a padded suit, walking on her hands and knees) and the raspy voice, the sharply focused eyes and the single-minded determination make a powerful impression. Other standouts are Meehan, who conveys anxiety so clearly that the audience can see the flop sweat, and Jenna Sokolowski as an aspiring actress whose empathy for those around her borders on the scary."
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Susan Berlin


City Paper - Somewhat Recommended

"... Jason Grote’s overstuffed, understructured dramedy Civilization (All You Can Eat) has all that and more, so credit the playwright with finding plenty of ways to talk about the chaotic hyperconsumption and collective wishful thinking that led us to the state we’re in. Now if only he had things to say that were as compelling as the souped-up, video-savvy, choreographed, and visually provocative production Howard Shalwitz has mounted at Woolly Mammoth."
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Bob Mondello


Washingtonian - Somewhat Recommended

"... Grote can be funny (Big Hog’s restaurant order in particular is a nice moment, as is an imagined viral ad campaign featuring George Washington and Thomas Jefferson bitch-slapping each other over a candy bar), and his cast is mostly engaging and fearless. But Civilization could benefit from having a stronger conceptual narrative behind it. There are so many pop culture references (Facebook, The Moth–style storytelling, racist Obama e-mails, The Butterfly Effect) that the overall effect is both disorienting and shallow. And the terrific Woolly space, disguised behind an old wooden billboard, is mostly underused until the very last scene. There are some interesting ideas at play here, but without a coherent structure behind them, they end up coming off as mere hogwash."
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Sophie Gilbert


BrightestYoungThings - Not Recommended

"... Civilization (all you can eat) is part of Woolly’s season-long exploration of how the world may end. According to Grote, adaptation and a willingness to sell out are the only alternatives left when the world is driven by unsparing greed. He makes this conclusion by having his characters sacrifice their dignity, or by ruthlessly consuming anyone in their way. Fleeting moments of humor and empathy are meant to help us swallow this buffet. But with unseemly ingredients and poor presentation, I’ve already lost my appetite."
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Alan Zilberman


The Georgetowner - Highly Recommended

"...Woolly Artistic Director Howard Shalwitz has staged this fragmented play with style and energy, you never get bogged down although there are enough opportunities. A talented cast — especially Naomi Jacobson as the struggling mother, Jenna Sokolowski, looking for love and an acting part in all the wrong places, Daniel Escobar doing standup and especially the affecting Casie Platt as Jade, the young girl just trying to help — makes connections to us, which important to us."
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Gary Tischler


MD Theatre Guide - Recommended

"... Director Howard Shalwitz not only succeeds in receiving outstanding performances from every member of his hard-working cast, but also ties all the subplots and themes together. He shows the parallels between the characters in the play and the theatre goers who agree to participate in the games. And because food appears throughout the production, you are left asking, “How far will a theatre goer go to get a free drink or snack?”"
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Mike Spain



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