Arts and Culture

Environmental issues in Louisville’s Rubbertown neighborhood are the subject of the newest play from Looking for Lilith.

“Prevailing Winds” opens Friday at the MeX Theatre at the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts.

This is the 10th original work by Looking for Lilith, and the company used its own collaborative process for creating the play. Instead of starting with a completed script, company members interviewed neighborhood residents and others who know the area to gather personal experiences of life in Rubbertown. Those interviews were combined with scientific data about the air quality and other environmental factors to create the production.

“The majority of (our work) is based on oral histories, and typically oral histories that we conduct. And then the way we put together our plays is a technique, a very extensive and inclusive technique called devising, which essentially is collaborative playmaking,” said Kathi E.B. Ellis, the play’s director.

(Note: Ellis also reviews dance performances for WFPL News.)

The seven performers each play a variety of roles throughout the show, along with music, movement and projections that tell the story.

This is the first time the company, which formed in New York City in 2001 and moved to Louisville in 2004, has done a Louisville-focused play.

“While over the years we’ve done lots of plays that have included Kentucky, have included our personal stories, have included the personal stories of friends and families, this is the first time that we’ve told a story about right here, right now,” Ellis said.

The company is also planning several audience “talk-backs” to continue exploring the issues raised by the play, and to discuss the collaborative process itself.

The play opens Friday and closes Nov. 14. More information about the play can be found here.

This story has been corrected to reflect the proper closing date.

Tara Anderson is a contributing editor for WFPL News, and the host and producer of Five Things, a podcast about the physical objects that tell our stories.