Arts and Culture

This morning, Actors Theatre of Louisville announced the lineup for the 43rd annual Humana Festival of New American plays.

Last year’s Humana festival was attended by more than 38,000 people. This year’s festival will run from March 1 to April 7, 2019. Tickets can be purchased starting Jan. 3, 2019.

Here are this year’s productions, as described by Actors Theatre in Thursday’s announcement:

“We’ve Come to Believe” by Kara Lee Corthron, Emily Feldman and Matthew Paul Olmos

Writing for the actors in this season’s Professional Training Company, three playwrights dive into the absurd — and sometimes hilarious — world of collective delusion, and the alarming places it can lead.

Audiences will be urged to consider the raw power of ‘groupthink’: hordes of collectors losing their minds over the latest consumer fad, hundreds of followers duped by a charismatic leader, and entire communities gripped by irrational panic. How do so many people come to share the same bizarre beliefs? How would we know if we are the ones who are deluded?

“The Corpse Washer” adapted by Ismail Khalidi and Naomi Wallace

Based on the novel of the same name by Sinan Antoon, “The Corpse Washer” is a unique coming of age story that centers on Jawad. Jawad would like to become an artist, but he feels pressured to follow in the footsteps of his father, who washes the bodies of the dead —an honored Muslim tradition. Set in an Iraq beset by decades of war and occupation, “The Corpse Washer” follows a young man’s desire to live in a society where life and death are inextricably intertwined.

“The Thin Place” by Lucas Hnath

Tony-nominated playwright Lucas Hnath is something of an Actors Theatre (and Humana) veteran. His plays “The Christians,” “Red Speedo” and “A Doll’s House Part 2” have seen successful national runs. He describes “The Thin Place” like this:

“Everyone who ever died is here, just in a different part of here. And if you listen, really listen, you can hear them—in the thin places—the places where the line between our world and some other world is very thin. It’s like if you were to imagine an octopus in an aquarium, pressed up against glass…except that there’s no glass, and no octopus.”

“How to Defend Yourself” by Lily Padilla

After her sorority sister is assaulted by a fraternity member, Brandi begins teaching her peers a self-defense class. Your body is a weapon, she says. But how much can a class actually teach them about protecting themselves — and each other? “How to Defend Yourself” examines the impact of rape culture, on campus and beyond.

“Everybody Black” by Dave Harris

When some wealthy white folks offer a big paycheck, a black historian agrees to write the definitive version of “The Black Experience™.” The problem is, the historian has never met another black person.

What emerges is a blisteringly funny satire filled with unforgettable characters, including a brazen Barack Obama here to set the record straight, and a talk show about black people addicted to dating white people. With searing wit and bold candor, Everybody Black explores how we chronicle — and make sense of — Black History.