From an audience's perspective, the title is the first thing you hear, learn, and feel about a play. It's about first impressions and what you associate with the few words that frame the whole play. When you think about it, titles can be either descriptive or metaphoric - the latter style you'll generally see in modern plays, like Mammoth, and the former style used by playwrights like Shakespeare – see The Tragedy of Macbeth, The Tragedy of Hamlet, and The Tragedy of Julius Caesar - and Victor Hugo with Le Roi S'amuse! and Les Burgraves. No riddles there - straight simplicity.
It's different for modern pieces: We see titles like David Mamet’s Speed the Plow offering a touch more complexity than those of the classics. Royal calls the modern strategy “cryptic,” others might consider it saving face, and too many end up confused. Either way, playwright Kate Royal says, “It really just comes down to the story you’re telling. Sometimes an obvious title is the perfect fit, but sometimes you want there to be that discrepancy between the title and the plot as a means of intriguing the audience - which I would say is the case for Mammoth.”
For Royal, titles are the most difficult part of the process, as they must “offer both mystery and explanation, and finding that perfect balance is no simple feat.”
As for the story behind this play’s title, (“I hesitate to reveal too much,” Royal says) it’s metaphorical, representing a broader theme that the play toys with. “Its actual meaning,” Royal says, “is one of the major questions I want to leave the audience with.”