News & Politics

The Quarantine Questionnaire: Maria Manuela Goyanes of Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company

The theater's artistic director talks about buying fake eyelashes and 12 other ways she's passing the time.

What’s the best thing you’ve streamed? Most useful thing in your freezer? Dream day when this is all over? In search of inspiration—and, let’s be honest, a bit of voyeurism—we’re asking Washingtonians (current and recently former) how they’re passing the time and getting through quarantine. Here’s Maria Manuela Goyanes, the trail-blazing artistic director at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company and alum of New York’s Public Theater.  


Maria Manuela Goyanes. Photograph by Lauren Bulbin

Best book I’ve read: Educated by Tara Westover. I am a big fan of memoir, and I cared so much about her and her family.

Best thing I’ve streamed: Unorthodox on Netflix. I am from New York and know many in the Hasidic community in Williamsburg and Crown Heights. Also, Shira Haas gives an absolutely riveting performance!

Best podcast: Brené Brown’sUnlocking Us.” Her research on vulnerability and shame is supremely helpful in navigating tough situations in the workplace and beyond. As a classic over-functioning older sibling, I deeply relate to her.

Best meme: Below. It’s from @nickcaveandthebadmemes on Instagram. (Full disclosure: I am married to the man behind @nickcaveandthebadmemes.)

Best virtual event I’ve attended: My own! Woolly threw our first online benefit on April 20 and turned our space into a TV studio with a skeleton crew, complete with spike marks six feet apart from everyone to stay safe. I can’t believe we pulled it off! The teams at RJ Whyte and Showcall walked us through every step of the way and were brilliant to work with, for those needing to throw their own virtual parties.

Song/album on repeat: A Strange Loop cast recording: The show just got nominated for a ton of awards in New York (Drama Desk, Lucille Lortels, etc.), and Woolly plans to bring the show to DC audiences once we can gather again safely.

Surprisingly useful household item: A complete impulse buy a number of years ago—I actually own a Slap Chop. It was gathering dust until the pandemic, but now I am cooking more at home. It makes mincing onions quick and fun. I love slapping that thing and I save my tears 🙂

Best purchase: Fake eyelashes (Sephora Collection, Original Hipster #24). They make your eyes look amazing on Zoom.

Favorite comfort food to make at home: Wings! Any kind of wings! I just made my BBQ wings while filling out this questionnaire. [Here’s my favorite recipe—Peter Tarnowski’s Pop-in-Law Special Wings Recipe, for a large package of 16 wings: 1 Tbsp Salt / 1 Tbsp Garlic / 3/4 Tbsp Black Pepper / 3/4 Tbsp Paprika / Put the wings in a bag. Spread the spices over the wings. Close bag and shake to distribute (while making a dad joke about shaking the bag). Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 55 minutes.]

Go-to at-home cocktail: High West Campfire Whiskey neat. So smoky and so delicious. Thanks to Meghan Pressman, Woolly’s former Managing Director, for introducing it to me!

Zoom, Google hangout, or FaceTime—and why: Regular old phone please! Then I can walk around and get my steps in.

Favorite quarantine activity: Playing the House Party app with my sister who is quarantined in New York city. I especially love the “Quick Draw” game on it. It’s a great way to enjoy each other since we won’t be seeing each other in person for a while.

Best coping mechanism: Searching for a cute pup on Petfinder…chances are high that I may take the leap and get a dog before this quarantine is over!

Kristen Hinman
Articles Editor

Kristen Hinman has been editing Washingtonian’s features since 2014. She joined the magazine after editing politics & policy coverage for Bloomberg Businessweek and working as a staff writer for Voice Media Group/Riverfront Times.