Marin Theatre Company & Round House Theatre to Stream World Premiere of Lauren Gunderson’s THE CATASTROPHIST Starring William DeMeritt, Jan. 26-Feb. 28

Marin Theatre Company and Round House Theatre are presenting The Catastrophist by Lauren Gunderson, a world premiere digital co-production based on the life and work of award-winning “virus hunter” Nathan Wolfe. Directed by Marin Theatre Company Artistic Director Jasson Minadakis, The Catastrophist is available for streaming January 26-February 28, 2021.

William DeMeritt stars as virologist Dr. Nathan Wolfe in ‘The Catastrophist,’ digitally produced by Marin Theatre Company and Round House Theatre. Photo courtesy of Marin Theatre Company

Lauren Gunderson, America’s most produced playwright, has written a story for this moment in time about Dr. Nathan Wolfe, the award-winning virologist who proposed a plan to protect the economy from pandemics years before the COVID-19 outbreak. He also happens to be Lauren’s husband. The Catastrophist is a one-person show starring William DeMeritt (Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole World, HBO’s The Normal Heart) that explores Nathan’s work combatting epidemics like Ebola and swine flu, his life as a loving father and son, and Tikkun Olam, the Jewish concept of healing at the center of it all.

Says Gunderson: “You think you know your partner of a decade. And then you attempt to write a play about them. When Jasson Minadakis posed the idea of writing a new play about my husband, I initially rejected it. But the idea started to make more and more sense. Of course, I told Nathan what I was writing and asked his permission, but I didn’t let him read it or see it until the very first rehearsal with our brilliant actor, Bill DeMerritt. I wanted him to not only be the subject of the play, but its first audience. He laughed. He cried. He gave me several notes on the science. This play has both the hardest play I’ve ever written and the most meaningful. What a joy to share it so widely so soon.”

Adds Marin Theatre Company Artistic Director Jasson Minadakis: “When the reality sunk in that we would not be in theatres in 2020, Lauren and I began discussing projects that could live between the worlds of theatre and film in a virtual space, and The Catastrophist went straight into development as a new commission. A work of great intimacy and immediacy, The Catastrophist is like nothing Lauren has attempted before, a startling portrait of one of our most important scientific thinkers. I’m delighted to be partnering with Ryan and Round House on this unique experience and look forward to the conversations it sparks across our country.”

“There really couldn’t be a more timely production than The Catastrophist, in content or presentation,” says Round House Artistic Director Ryan Rilette. “In the midst of a global pandemic, Lauren Gunderson has created a deeply personal story about the man who has been sounding the alarm on them for years. I had read Dr. Wolfe’s book, The Viral Storm, years ago when I was still Producing Director at Marin, and I immediately wanted to see a stage adaptation. I was thrilled when Jasson reached out to say that he and Lauren were finally going to make that happen, and I’m thrilled to work with them to share that story with audiences in the DC metropolitan area, the Bay Area, and everywhere in between.”
 
Filmed on stage in Marin’s Boyer Theatre, The Catastrophist is presented entirely digitally and will be available for on-demand viewing for one month. Audiences are encouraged to gather a small list of household items which will be cued during the play to experience and interact with. DeMeritt is joined by a creative team that includes producer Nakissa Etemad, dramaturg Martine Kei Green-Rogers, costume designer Sarah Smith, lighting designer Wen-Ling Liao, composer and sound designer Chris Houston, director of photography Peter Ruocco, assistant director Christina Hogan, and COVID compliance officer Liz Mastos.

The Catastrophist runs from January 26 to February 28, 2021. Tickets for on-demand streaming are available for $30. Tickets can be purchased by calling 415-388-5208 or ordering online at marintheatre.org. If ticket buyers have questions, they can reach Marin Theatre Company Box Office associates Monday through Friday between 12-5 p.m. by calling 415-388-5208 or emailing boxoffice@marintheatre.org.

William DeMeritt (Nathan Wolfe) Regional: 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 & Co-creator of the one-man show, Origin Story (winner New York Innovative Theatre Award, Best Solo Performance). Sense & Sensibility at Dallas Theatre Center. The Slam Jam at the Upright Citizens’ Brigade Theatre. Off-BroadwayThe 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. Mom, How Did You Meet the Beatles? at The Public Theatre. InternationalHamlet at the Bridge Lane Theater, London.  October in the Chair & Other Fragile Things at the Amsterdam International Fringe Festival. Film:The Normal Heart, The Lennon Report, The Surrogate, What’s Up, Lovely?, Bad Luck Dandelion. TelevisionThe Flight Attendant (HBOMax), NCIS: New Orleans, Person of Interest, Law&Order:SVU, One Life to Live, The Outs (Vimeo), Guiding Light. Additional Credits:Audiobooks: Underground Airlines (AUDIE nomination, Earphones award winner), the Mortifications, Snapshot, The Wild Ones trilogy, The Resisters, the Isaiah Coleridge series.  Featured Narrator for The New Yorker The New York Times on the AUDM app (streaming service for narrated long-form journalism).BFA Marymount Manhattan, MFA Yale School of Drama. www.williamdemeritt.com  @demeritt

Lia Chang

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman. She stars in and served as Executive Producer for the short independent films Hide and Seek, Balancing Act, Rom-Com Gone Wrong, Belongingness and When the World was Young. She is also the Executive Producer for The Cactus, The Language Lesson, The Writer and Cream and 2 Shugahs.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2021 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

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