Collective of 2: Jen Silverman & Mike Donahue

The above screenshot comes from a post on Jen Silverman’s blog, a post which contains only the above text conversation and a title: “The Point At Which Mike Stops Texting Me Back.”

Here at Woolly, we are extremely lucky to be hosting a play written by Silverman and directed by Mike Donahue: Collective Rage. As you may be able to tell, Silverman and Donahue are good pals…they’re also frequent collaborators. In 2013, Donahue directed Silverman’s Phoebe in Winter at NYC’s Clubbed Thumb.

Phoebe In Winter; Photo by Heather Phelps-Lipton

It was the start of a beautiful artistic friendship — as theater-makers getting to know each other, they clicked. But don’t take it from us — we encourage you to visit Silverman’s blog, where the tag “MIKE DONAHUE IS GOING DOWN,” which can be traced back to May 2013, reveals a whirlwind friendship replete with prank drawings and peer-pressured music service subscriptions, not to mention numerous additional (and hilarious) iMessage snippets:

To say nothing of the fact that this may be the first ever writer-director relationship of this caliber to be immortalized online in text conversations (theatre historians of the future, take note), the genuine sense of camaraderie and jocular affection on display is truly endearing. And lest you think it’s all banana sketches and text zingers, here’s how Donahue described Silverman in a recent interview with American Theatre:

“She’s very interested in power structures, and in class, and in hierarchy…She’s very interested in gender and performance of gender — the boxes we get put in and how we become aware of those boxes. She’s fundamentally interested in transformation and in the ability of people to powerfully transform themselves.” — Mike Donahue

Suffice it to say that this pair can be serious about art, too, and when they are — it’s a wonder to behold. At the 2015 Humana Festival, Donahue directed Silverman’s The Roommate, which the Courier-Journal called “reflective and hilarious” and “a warm and wonderful story.”

Their latest project, Collective Rage, represents the perfect marriage of rollicking, mirthful energy and serious commitment to social critique that could be described as the Silverman/Donahue brand. A wise playwright once said that “the best ideas are the ones that other people have already had, that won them Pulitzers” — but be that as it may, we think that Collective Rage is one of the most original, and best, plays we’ve seen.