humana festival of new american plays

Arts and Humanities
12:23 pm
Sun April 6, 2014

Actors Theatre of Louisville Closes 38th Humana Fest With Shorts, New Play Awards

Actors Theatre of Louisville closed its 38th annual Humana Festival of New American Plays yesterday with the world premiere of three ten-minute plays in the Pamela Brown Auditorium. 

These short works joined the six full-length plays that opened throughout the six-week festival. Read all of WFPL's coverage of the Humana Festival here

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Arts and Humanities
7:00 am
Sun March 30, 2014

As Louisville Considers Youth Safety, Humana Fest Play Confronts Issue Head-On

Cherene Snow (Lena) delivering the opening monologue, with Sally Diallo (Devine) in background, in Kimber Lee's "brownsville song (b-side for tray)," Humana Festival of New American Plays, 2014.
Credit Bill Brymer / Actors Theatre of Louisville

Louisville continues to react to a series of violent incidents last weekend, when a gathering of teens at a Waterfront Park vigil for a youth stabbed on a TARC bus became volatile, and attendees allegedly committed several acts of violence throughout downtown. 

The events of last weekend have led to greater police presence downtown and community meetings with teens in West Louisville.

Meanwhile, downtown at Third and Main streets, the 38th annual Humana Festival of New American Plays is underway at Actors Theatre of Louisville.

These two stories aren’t usually connected. But one of the plays making its world premiere in the festival is “brownsville song (b-side for tray),” a powerful drama about an African American teen victim of gang violence.

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Arts and Humanities
11:42 am
Wed March 26, 2014

Your Indispensable Guide to the 2014 Humana Festival Plays

John Clarence Stewart and Sally Diallo in Kimber Lee's "brownsville song (b-side for tray)," Humana Festival of New American Plays, 2014.
Credit Bill Brymer / Actors Theatre of Louisville

As of last weekend, all of the full-length productions have opened in the Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville. (A bill of ten-minute plays runs the final weekend only.) The festival is open through Sunday, April 6. That's a mere week and a half to fit in a whole festival's worth of world premiere plays. Here's the schedule with ticket information.

Wondering which play(s) are worth your time? Have to choose only one of six shows? Don't panic. Here's your guide to the Humana Festival from someone who's seen it all. 

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Arts and Humanities
10:56 am
Mon March 24, 2014

Humana Festival Director Ian Frank on Apprentice Showcase 'Remix 38'

Zach Wymore and Mirirai Sithole in "Remix 38," Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville, 2014.
Credit Bill Brymer / Actors Theatre of Louisville

Ian Frank, himself a former member of the apprentice company, returns to Actors Theatre of Louisville this year to direct "Remix 38," the apprentice anthology showcase. This year's playwrights -  Jackie Sibblies Drury, Idris Goodwin, Basil Kreimendahl, Justin Kuritzkes and Amelia Roper - were charged with an homage assignment. Each playwright received snippets of dialog and image from nine previous Humana Festival world premiere plays to jumpstart their work. The result is nine individual short plays that are united by the festival itself, not by theme. 

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Arts and Humanities
7:01 am
Sun March 23, 2014

REVIEW | Homage to Humana Festivals Past 'Remix' Showcases Acting Apprentices

Madison Niderhauser, Derek Grabner, Lindsey Kite and Julia Bynum in "Remix 38," Humana Festival of New American Plays, 2014.
Credit Bill Brymer / Actors Theatre of Louisville

Every year for the Humana Festival of New American Plays, Actors Theatre of Louisville commissions a group of playwrights to fashion an anthology - a collection of short plays gathered under one production - to showcase the current crop of acting apprentices. There's a theme to unify the pieces - last year's "Sleep Rock Thy Brain" focused on the brain science of sleep, and 2012's "Oh Gastronomy!" was all about food - and once published, the play becomes a suitable showcase piece for any large cast of young adult actors, perfect for high school or college productions.

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Arts and Humanities
1:06 pm
Sat March 22, 2014

REVIEW | SITI Company Explodes John Henry Myth in 'Steel Hammer'

Eric Berryman and the cast of "Steel Hammer," 38th Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville, 2014.
Credit Michael Brosilow / Actors Theatre of Louisville

The 38th Humana Festival of New American Plays continues with another dynamic opening night at Actors Theatre of Louisville. Directed by the legendary Anne Bogart, "Steel Hammer," a movement-heavy musical ode to and interrogation of American folklore hero John Henry opened last night with an impressive performance in the Victor Jory Theatre. 

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Arts and Humanities
1:28 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

REVIEW | Kimber Lee's Flawless 'brownsville song' Premieres

John Clarence Stewart and Sally Diallo in Kimber Lee's "brownsville song (b-side for tray)," Humana Festival of New American Plays, 2014.
Credit Bill Brymer / Actors Theatre of Louisville

A young black man from a poor neighborhood is killed by another young man. This tragedy is not seen by the world outside the neighborhood as extraordinary. A family is left to grieve, while that young man – could he have been extraordinary? – his name fades. This inattention is a collective failure that playwright  Kimber Lee seeks to dismantle in “brownsville song (b-side for tray),” which made its world premiere last night in the Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville. 

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Arts and Humanities
1:04 pm
Fri March 14, 2014

REVIEW | For Love or Money: Dorothy Fortenberry's Humana Fest Premiere 'Partners'

David Ross, Kasey Mahaffy, LeRoy McClain and Annie Purcell in "Partners" by Dorothy Fortenberry. Part of the Humana Festival of New American Plays, 2014.
Credit Bill Brymer / Actors Theatre of Louisville

As the great Eighties philosopher Cyndi Lauper once promised us, money changes everything. Playwright Dorothy Fortenberry explores how finances and emotions converge in marriage and in friendship in her new play “Partners,” currently making its world premiere in what is, so far, a very strong Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville.

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Arts and Humanities
1:02 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

REVIEW | Jordan Harrison's 'The Grown-Up' A Charming Ode to the Imagination

Matthew Stadelmann and David Ryan Smith in The Grown-Up, Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville, 2014.
Credit Bill Brymer / Actors Theatre of Louisville

Playwright Jordan Harrison likes a high concept – in his widely-favored 2011 Humana Festival entry “Maple and Vine,” which went on to high-profile productions at Playwrights Horizons and American Conservatory Theatre, urban achievers leave the contemporary über-connected rat race to live in a planned community of 1950s re-enactors, with all of the racial, gender, and sexual anachronisms that implies; in his sci-fi dystopian “Futura” (produced in Louisville by Theatre [502] in 2012), books and paper are outlawed in favor of the computing cloud. 

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Arts and Humanities
6:17 pm
Sat March 8, 2014

REVIEW | Theological Bombshells Land in Lucas Hnath's Humana Festival Play 'The Christians'

Emily Donahoe, Andrew Garman and Linda Powell in Lucas Hnath's "The Christians," Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville, 2014.
Credit Michael Brosilow / Actors Theatre of Louisville

One of playwright Lucas Hnath's many strengths is his ability to write ambiguous conflicts that elicit reactions that are anything but ambivalent. His new play "The Christians" is set squarely in the culture of the American evangelical Protestant church, but the questions it raises (and refuses to answer patly) resonate beyond — how do we know what we believe and why we believe it? And who are we, and what can we expect from others, if we change our minds? 

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