Each year, new theatrical voices are brought to the spotlight through the Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville. This year is the first year of the festival under Les Waters, Actors current artistic director.
What started as an innovative theatrical event now shines a prestigious light on the theatre community of Louisville. Many theatre professionals flock to our city for this event. The festival is interesting, enlightening and a great way to see the debut of plays before the hit the stages of New York, Chicago and L.A. This year, there will be plays from Jeff Augustin, Mallery Avidon, Will Eno, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins and Sam Marks. There will also be a piece designed for Actors Theatre's Apprentice Company by Rinne Groff, Lucas Hnath and Anne Washburn. In addition, an evening of ten-minute plays will be staged. The lineup for this event will be announced in January 2013, when the winners of Actors Theatre’s National Ten-Minute Play Contest are announced. As of this writing, the only playwright confirmed for the Ten-Minute Play event is Sarah Ruhl, a playwright best known for In the Next Room (or The Vibrator Play), which was a finalist for the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and was nominated for the Best Play category during the 2010 Tony Awards.
We are lucky to have the Humana Festival of New American Plays here in Louisville. This will also be the first Humana Festival with Chef Ed Lee’s new restaurant. Take advantage of it! Below is the 2013 play lineup.
The Delling Shore
When it is running: February 27 through April 7, 2013
Who is the playwright: Sam Marks
Who is directing the show: Meredith McDonough
A story of the competition between a successful novelist and a struggling writing. Their daughters are part of the feud and are aspiring writers themselves.
When it is running: March 5 through April 7, 2013
Who is the playwright: Branden Jacobs-Jenkins
Who is directing the show: Gary Griffin
The remaining members of the Lafayette family head to Arkansas to claim parts of the family estate.
Cry Old Kingdom
When it is running: March 8 through April 7, 2013
Who is the playwright: Jeff Augustin
Who is directing the show: Tom Dugdale
A professional debut for Jeff Augustin, the story follows an artist’s struggle to survive in Haiti.
When it is running: March 15 through April 7, 2013
Who is the playwright: Will Eno
Who is directing the show: Les Waters
A contemporary spin on Ibsen’s Peer Gynt, this tale is set to be an entertaining and cautionary story.
O Guru Guru Guru, or why I don’t want to go to yoga class with you
When it is running: March 20 through April 7, 2013
Who is the playwright: Mallery Avidon
Who is directing the show: Lila Neugebauer
An amusing investigation on everyone’s desire to get to know themselves.
Sleep Rock Thy Brain
When it is running: March 22 through April 7, 2013
Who is the playwright: Rinne Groff, Lucas Hnath, and Anne Washburn
Who is directing the show: Amy Attaway
This play was conceived by Amy Attaway and Sarah Lunnie and is set to be performed by the 2012-2013 Acting Apprentice Company. Something we all do, sleep, delved into through show, science and a bit of theatrics.
When it is running: April 6 through April 7, 2013
An evening of ten-minute plays, the lineup for this event will be announced in January 2013. The plays staged are the winners of Actors Theatre’s National Ten-Minute Play Contest.
Tickets to individual shows and complete packages can be purchased at the Actors Theatre of Louisville website . If you are wondering what Actors Theatre looks like or where it is, check it out on the Main Street walking tour.
Not convinced the Humana Festival of New American Plays is worth a trip downtown? Here are a few fun facts to ignite your interest:
• Including full-length plays, one-acts and monologues, over 400 new plays have been produced as part of the festival.
• Three plays launched at the festival have won the Pulitzer Prize: D. L. Coburn’s The Gin Game, Beth Henley’s Crimes of the Heart and Donald Margulies’ Dinner With Friends. In addition, Keely and Du by Jane Martin and Omnium-Gatherum by Alexandra Gersten-Vassilaros and Theresa Rebeck, and Becky Shaw by Gina Gionfriddo were all finalists.
• Eight plays from the festival have been adapted for film and television. Two plays have been adapted for radio. As for the seeing the plays themselves, each year shows sell out to a diverse audience, often over 30 foreign countries are represented.