Actors Theatre of Louisville has announced the lineup for the 37th annual Humana Festival of New American Plays. The festival opens February 27 and runs through April 7. With the exception of the commissioned apprentice anthology, the full-length world premieres are all written by playwrights making their Humana Festival debuts.
For a live interview with Actors Theatre literary manager Sarah Lunnie on this year’s Humana Festival selections, tune in to 89.3 FM Monday at 1:30 p.m.
In addition to the previously-announced world premiere of Will Eno’s “Gnit,” which will be directed by artistic director Les Waters, the festival will feature the world premieres of full-length plays by Jeff Augustin, Mallery Avidon, Brandon Jacobs-Jenkins and Sam Marks, as well as an evening of new ten-minute plays that will include “Two Conversations Overheard on Airplanes” by acclaimed playwright Sarah Ruhl (“In the Next Room (or The Vibrator Play),” “Eurydice”).
A suite of three one-act plays by Anne Washburn, Lucas Hnath and Rinne Groff have already been commissioned for the apprentice anthology “Sleep Rock Thy Brain,” a unique collaboration between the playwrights, Actors Theatre, University of Louisville School of Medicine, Lincoln Elementary and ZFX Flying Effects. “Sleep Rock Thy Brain” is conceived by Actors Theatre literary manager Sarah Lunnie and associate apprentice/intern company director Amy Attaway, who will also direct.
“The Delling Shore” by Sam Marks
Directed by associate artistic director Meredith McDonough. Over the course of one fraught evening at a country lake house, two feuding novelists confront their professional jealousies—and their personal failures—as their daughters are caught in the fray.
Marks developed this play at the Sundance Institute Theatre Lab (read a synopsis). Also a screenwriter, his credits include “Brack’s Last Bachelor Party” (Babel Theater Company), ”The Joke” (Studio Dante) and “Nelson and the BIgger Man.” The Dramatist Magazine recently named him to their “50 to Watch” list.
“Appropriate” by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins
Directed by Gary Griffin, associate artistic director of Chicago Shakespeare Theatre. When three siblings descend upon a former plantation to liquidate their dead father’s estate, a disturbing discovery among his possessions brings a heated family reunion to an outright boil. A play about family secrets, memory loss, and the art of repression.
Jacobs-Jenkins developed this play at the Sundance Institute (scroll down for a synopsis). A recipient of a 2010 Princess Grace Award and a Fullbright Fellowship, Jacobs-Jenkins has worked with the Public Theatre (“Neighbors“), New Dramatists and Soho Rep.
“Cry Old Kingdom” by Jeff Augustin
Directed by Tom Dugdale. Haiti, 1964. When an artist in hiding persuades a young man to pose for a painting, he feels alive for the first time in years. But under a repressive regime, with revolution brewing, no one’s life is safe.
This play won the 2011 Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award at the American College Theatre Festival at the Kennedy Center (Augustin is a graduate student at University of California San Diego). His credits include “The Imaginary Life of Millo St. Jean” (Snapdragon) and “Beneath the Mango Moon” (developed at Chicago’s Stage Left Theatre).
“Gnit” by Will Eno
Directed by artistic director Les Waters. Read the WFPL story.
“O Guru Guru Guru, or why I don’t want to go to yoga class with you” by Mallery Avidon
Directed by Lila Neugebauer, a 2008-09 directing intern at Actors Theatre (“The Edge of Our Bodies,” “Ameriville”). Lila grew up in an ashram, but she does not want to go to yoga class with you. A disarming look at the precarious process of becoming yourself.
Avidon’s plays, which include “Mary-Kate Olsen is in Love” and “The Past is Not a Foreign Country (very personal) Maps of Seattle” have been developed or produced by Soho Rep, Playwrights Horizons, The Bay Area Playwrights Foundation and Pavement Group, among others.