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The Jungle

If you have a chance to see a production of The Jungle by the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, go.

Right now they are partnered with STC to bring The Jungle to DC, and I had the privilege of attending their first show on Wednesday night. I knew nothing of the play before attending, and my briefest summary is this: it's about a refugee community in France in 2016, called "The Jungle" by careless translation.

For once I'm not inclined to give spoilers by way of analysis. Perhaps I'm still processing what I saw (I definitely am). But the production is a thoroughly engaging, human, and heartbreaking story that literally and figuratively pulls the audience in from the start.

Sydney Harman Hall is unrecognizable, and the immersive set well and truly pulls the audience into the production. We sat in Iraq, in Salar's restaurant, and watched as the community grew and crumbled. We were part of conflicts and social commentary, watched the news on old tvs in the corners, and were frozen in the invasion.

The cast is phenomenal, and I refuse to pick out any one or the other for critique. Any momentary shortcoming is buoyed by the whole, and in particular by Ben Turner, Jonathan Nyati, and Ammar Haj Ahmad as pivotal community leaders.

Just. Wow.

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