Actors Theatre of Louisville will stage the world premiere of Will Eno’s “Gnit” in the 37th Humana Festival of New American Plays next year. “Gnit” also rounds out the mainstage Brown-Forman Series for the 2012-13 season.
“Gnit” is a riff on Henrik Ibsen’s “Peer Gynt,” a classic picaresque fantasy based in part on Norweigan folk tales. Eno’s play is the story of a man’s journey to find his true self as he discovers that his identity keeps changing, as well as a cautionary tale exploring the idea that the opposite of love might be laziness.
Artistic director Les Waters will direct. This is Waters’ third time staging Eno’s work–Waters directed “Middletown” at Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre and “Tragedy: a tragedy” at his former home base, Berkeley Repertory Theatre.
Waters says Eno, whom The New York Times' Charles Isherwood calls “a Samuel Beckett for the Jon Stewart generation,” is a unique voice whose plays balance a deep irony with a deep compassion for humanity.
“One of the things I find fascinating about working on his plays is finding the right tone for them, so that they’re hilariously funny one moment and very moving the next,” says Waters. “Sometimes the humor and the humanity of the piece is working simultaneously.”
Waters says he was drawn to this new play because of the connection it shares with classical work.
“I believe very strongly that we stand on the shoulders of giants,” says Waters. “We have these great forefathers and foremothers of plays and theater and Ibsen is one of the greatest. To take the play themes in Ibsen’s ‘Peer Gynt’ and filter them through Will’s imagination is very exciting.”
The Humana Festival runs February 27-April 7, 2013. The rest of the festival lineup will be announced in November.