For Immediate Release:

The Catastrophic Theatre presents

The Designated Mourner

by Wallace Shawn

May 14 – June 5 at The Catastrophic Theatre office (1540 Sul Ross)

***Please note new performance dates***

Following on the heels of its critically acclaimed production of Wallace Shawn’s Our Late Night, The Catastrophic Theatre presents the Houston premiere of the writer’s masterwork, The Designated Mourner.

The Designated Mourner’s production history is legendary. The London premiere was directed by noted playwright David Hare and starred Mike Nichols in his first theatrical role in decades. The New York premiere, directed by Andre Gregory and starring the playwright, was performed in a former men’s club which seated only thirty people, making it the most coveted ticket in town. Following this tradition, the Catastrophic production of the play will be presented in an extremely intimate setting: the Menil-­‐neighborhood house that serves as the company’s office.

The Designated Mourner is an intensely political play, considering class, culture and identity in an entirely original fashion. Through a series of scenes and confessional monologues, three characters reveal the details of an imagined near future in an unnamed country in which an uprising has classified arbiters of high culture as enemies of the state and targeted them for execution. Following Jack (“a former student of English literature who went downhill from there”), his wife Judy and her controversial and revered writer father Howard, the play explores love, sex, morality, the idea of “the self,” the role of culture and the phenomenon of “enemies.”

According to Nodler, “The Designated Mourner is my favorite piece of modern writing. I have read it more than a hundred times and on each reading its impact increases. One of my favorite pastimes is reading it aloud with friends and I’ve done that more times than I can count. Each year as I consider plays for our season it is at the top of my list. I am delighted to finally share it with an audience. To do so with so stellar a cast and in such an intimate venue is a dream come true.”

Catastrophic artistic director Jason Nodler directs company members Greg Dean and Mikelle Johnson as well as special guest artist Paul Menzel, a Radio Music Theatre alum most recently seen in Stages Repertory Theatre productions of Nixon’s Nixon and God’s Man in Texas.

Seating is extremely limited and reservations are strongly encouraged. Opening night tickets are $50 and include a party with the cast. All other tickets are pay-­‐what-­‐you-­‐can.

The play runs Wednesdays through Saturdays, May 14 – June 5 at 8 p.m.
For tickets, visit or call the box office at (713) 522-­‐2723.



Fact Sheet

The Designated Mourner by Wallace Shawn

Wednesdays through Saturdays
May 14, 15, 19, 20, 21, 22, 26, 27, 28, 29; June 2, 3, 4, 5. All performances begin at 8pm

Performances will be held at The Catastrophic Theatre offices
1540 Sul Ross
Houston, TX 77006
(Corner of Sul Ross and Mandell, across the street from The Menil Collection)

Opening night May 14: $50
All other performances: Pay-what-you-can

Tickets may be purchased online at Or by phone at 713-522-2723

Creative Team:

Director: Jason Nodler
Scenic Design: Kirk Markley Lighting Design: Devlin Browning Costume Design: Kelly Switzer Sound Design: Chris Bakos


Jack: Greg Dean
Judy: Mikelle Johnson (member Actors’ Equity Association) Howard: Paul Menzel (member Actors’ Equity Association)

The Catastrophic Theatre 1540 Sul Ross
Houston, TX 77006 713-522-2327

Jason Nodler, Artistic Director



Kirk Markley, Managing Director