By Lauren M. Gunderson
Directed by Jasson Minadakis
a co-production of Marin Theatre Company and Round House Theatre
March 15 – April 4, 2021
How do you plan for catastrophe? Virologist Nathan Wolfe, named one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People in the World for his work tracking Ebola and swine flu, proposed pandemic insurance years before the novel coronavirus outbreak. No one bought it. Now, in a post-COVID world, we hear his story—presented entirely digitally. The Book of Will playwright Lauren Gunderson returns with a time-jumping tale based on the life and work of Nathan Wolfe (who also happens to be her husband). A deep dive into the profundities of scientific exploration and the harrowing realities of facing your own mortality, The Catastrophist is a world premiere theatrical experience built of and for this moment in time.
“In Ms. Gunderson’s hands, (the play) sheds compassionate light on the all-too-human tendency to ignore catastrophe until it’s too late.” — The Economist
Lauren Gunderson’s play, The Revolutionists, opened City Theatre’s 2018-19 season. She is America’s most-produced contemporary playwright.
CAST AND CREATIVE TEAM
Director of Photography/Editor
MARTINE KEI GREEN-ROGERS
CHRIS HOUSTON/IMPLIED MUSIC
WILLIAM DEMERITT (Nathan) is an actor, writer, director, theatre educator, and dialect coach making his MTC and Round House debuts. Off-Broadway credits include The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World AKA the Negro Book of the Dead at Signature Theatre Company; Liz Swados’ Violence Project at LaMaMa ETC.; and Mom, How Did You Meet the
Beatles? at The Public Theatre. International credits include Hamlet at the Bridge Lane Theater (London) and October in the Chair & Other Fragile Things at the Amsterdam International Fringe Festival. Regional credits include Will in Shakespeare in Love
(U.S. premiere), Fenton in The Merry Wives of Windsor, Sholem Asch in Indecent at Oregon Shakespeare Festival; Orsino in Twelfth Night at Yale Rep; We, The Invisibles at
the Humana Festival of New American Plays, Actors Theatre of Louisville; writer and co-creator of the one-man show Origin Story (winner, New York Innovative Theatre Award, Best Solo Performance); Sense and Sensibility at Dallas Theatre Center; and The Slam Jam at the Upright Citizens’ Brigade Theatre. Film credits include The Normal Heart; The Lennon Report; The Surrogate; What’s Up, Lovely?; and Bad Luck Dandelion. Television credits include The Flight Attendant (HBOMax), NCIS: New Orleans, Person of Interest, Law & Order: SVU, One Life to Live, The Outs (Vimeo), and Guiding Light. Additional credits include the audiobooks Underground Airlines (AUDIE nomination, Earphones award winner), The Mortifications, Snapshot, The Wild Ones trilogy, The Resisters, and the Isaiah Coleridge series; and Featured Narrator for The New Yorker and The New York Times on the AUDM app (streaming service for narrated long-form journalism). William has a BFA from Marymount Manhattan and an MFA from Yale School of Drama. williamdemeritt.com, @demeritt. Special thanks to my wife Cassandra for making this pandemic quarantine time thrive-able and not just survivable. And to Nathan and Lauren for trusting me with their story.
L A U R E N M . G U N D E R S O N (Playwright) has been one of the most produced playwrights in America since 2015, topping the list twice including in 2019-2020. She is a two-time winner of the Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award for I and You and The Book of Will, the winner of the Lanford Wilson Award and
the Otis Guernsey New Voices Award, a finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and John Gassner Award for Playwriting, and a recipient
of the Mellon Foundation’s Residency with Marin Theatre Company. She studied Southern Literature and Drama at Emory University and Dramatic Writing at NYU’s Tisch School, where she was a Reynolds Fellow in Social Entrepreneurship. She
co-authored the Miss Bennet plays with Margot Melcon, and her play The Half-Life of Marie Curie is available on Audible.com. Her work is published at Playscripts (I and You; Exit, Pursued By A Bear; The Taming; and Toil and Trouble), Dramatists Play Service (The Revolutionists; The Book of Will; Silent Sky; Bauer; Natural Shocks; The Wickhams; and Miss Bennet), and Samuel French (Emilie). Her picture book Dr. Wonderful: Blast Off to the Moon is available on Amazon. She is currently developing musicals with Ari Afsar; Dave Stewart and Joss Stone; and Kait Kerrigan and Brian Lowdermilk. LaurenGunderson.com. This is for Nathan, Charles and Asa, Carol Wittenberg and Julie Hirsch.
JASSON MINADAKIS (Director/Artistic Director of
MTC) is in his 15th season as artistic director of Marin Theatre Company, where he has directed Mother of the Maid, Sovereignty, Oslo, Shakespeare in Love, Thomas and Sally, Guards at the Taj, August: Osage County, The Invisible Hand, Anne Boleyn, The Convert, The Whale, Failure: A Love Story, the world premiere
of Lasso of Truth, The Whipping Man (San Francisco Bay Area Critics Circle Awards for Best Production and Best Acting Ensemble), Waiting for Godot, Othello: the Moor of Venice, The Glass Menagerie, Edward Albee’s Tiny Alice, the world premiere of Libby Appel’s adaptation of Chekhov’s Seagull, Happy Now?, Equivocation (SFBATCC Award, Best Director), the world premiere of Sunlight, Lydia, The Seafarer, Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, A Streetcar Named Desire, said Saïd, Love Song, and The Subject Tonight is Love. As artistic director of Actor’s Express Theatre Company, he directed The Pillowman; Bug; The Love Song of J. Robert Oppenheimer; Echoes of Another Man; Killer Joe; Burn This; The Goat or, Who is Sylvia?; Blue/ Orange; and Bel Canto. As producing artistic director of Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival, he directed Jesus Hopped the ’A’ Train, Chagrin Falls (2002 Cincinnati Entertainment Award for Best Production), and numerous others, including 19 productions
of Shakespeare. Regional credits include The Whipping Man at Virginia Stage Company, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Hamlet at Georgia Shakespeare, Copenhagen at Playhouse on the Square (2003 Ostrander Theatre Award for Best Dramatic Production), and Bedroom Farce at Wayside.