Andre Gregory Directs Wallace Shawn’s The Designated Mourner

If the success of a socially conscious play that explores unconventional elements of the arts and relationships is its ability to make the audience think than The Designated Mourner triumphs. Told through three interwoven monologues, the Orwellian political story is recounted alongside the visceral dissolution of a marriage.

Cast of The Designated Mourner
Wallace Shawn (from left), Larry Pine and Deborah Eisenberg make up the cast of The Designated Mourner. Written by Shawn and directed by Andre Gregory, the REDCAT show is a product of one of the longest collaborations in the history of the American theater.

Political Theater at Its Best

As their rapidly changing country slips into totalitarianism, three artist-intellectuals try to make sense of their changing lives in this searing and prescient drama re-staged at REDCAT by the celebrated team of writer Wallace Shawn and director André Gregory. The same dynamic cast that Gregory directed in the acclaimed New York production in 2000 – Shawn, Deborah Eisenberg, and Larry Pine – recreate their roles as a famous poet-intellectual, his daughter, and her husband.

When their government brutally cracks down on anyone suspected of subversion, the three observe the flagrant transformations of everyday life, public affairs, and personal relationships, realizing they are each made of very different moral fiber despite their shared highbrow background.

Audiences marveled at the remarkable relevance of the 1996 play when it was revived during the George W. Bush years. Now the artists revisit the work, which is frequently heralded as a masterpiece of political theater, during the first months of a new and controversial U.S. administration.

The Designated Mourner at REDCAT in DTLA


It was a great privilege to be part of the team that brought The Designated Mourner to Los Angeles. REDCAT continues to deliver on its mission to bring artists who blur the boundaries between artistic disciplines, cross international borders in their collaborations, experiment with varied artistic traditions and invent or use new technology in developing new forms of expression.

REDCAT Council & Host Committee

The performances of The Designated Mourner at REDCAT were funded in part by generous support from members of The REDCAT Host Committee:  Premier Sponsor: Gary Stewart; Kevin Brine and Jessica Smith, Fariba Ghaffari, Diane Levine, Dr. Bruce Piner, and Andrea Piner, Alexander Westerman and David Gleason, and Good Works Foundation. 

The Designated Mourner at REDCAT – May 12th – May 21st (past production)

The play nicely combines Pinterian menace with caustic political commentary.


Acerbic, elusive, poetic and chilling, the writing is demanding in a rarefied manner. Its implications are both affecting and disturbing.

Los Angeles Times

In his exquisitely written dramatic lament for the decline of high culture…Shawn offers a definition of the self that should rattle the defenses of intellectual snobs everywhere.

The New York Times

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