Six plays, including works by Basil Kreimendahl and Sarah DeLappe, will get their world premieres at Actors Theatre of Louisville‘s 41st annual Humana Festival of New American Plays, which kicks off March 1.
The festival runs through April 9 at the Kentucky theatre. This year‘s playwrights also include Jeff Augustin, Jorge Ignacio Cortiñas, Tasha Gordon-Solmon, Claire Kiechel, Chelsea Marcantel, Molly Smith Metzler, and Ramiz Monsef.
Many plays from the Humana Festival have gotten major productions and awards. Three have won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama: The Gin Game by D.L. Coburn, Crimes of the Heart by Beth Henley, and Dinner With Friends by Donald Margulies.
Here is the 2017 lineup, presented in the order they will be produced. Plot summaries were suppled by the ATL.
I Now Pronounce
By Tasha Gordon-Solmon, directed by Stephen Brackett
March 1–April 9 in the Bingham Theatre
“After Adam and Nicole’s wedding culminates in an awkwardly timed fatality, the reception spins into an increasingly strange evening that leaves the bride and groom questioning just what it is they’re celebrating. But there’s no stopping the festivities: the flower girls are running amuck, the bridal party members are more preoccupied with their own flailing relationships, and everyone needs to stop ordering the blue drinks. Comedies end in marriage. Tragedies end in death. This play begins with both.“
I Now Pronounce was developed at the Perry-Mansfield New Works Festival in June 2016.
We’re Gonna Be Okay
By Basil Kreimendahl, directed by Lisa Peterson
March 7–April 9 in the Pamela Brown Auditorium
“During the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, two average American families build a slapdash bomb shelter on their shared property line. With nuclear warfare looming, they wonder: is it the end? The end of baseball...and table manners...and macramé? But as they fret about the fall of civilization, they start to worry that something more personal is at stake. A slyly hilarious, compassionate look at anxiety in America, We’re Gonna Be Okay is about finding the courage to face who we are—and who we want to be.”
We’re Gonna Be Okay was developed with support from the Playwrights’ Center’s Jerome Fellowship Program, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Cry it Out
By Molly Smith Metzler, directed by Davis McCallum
Commissioned by Actors Theatre of Louisville
March 10–April 9 in the Bingham Theatre
“Cooped up on maternity leave and starved for conversation, Jessie invites her funny and forthright neighbor Lina, also a new mom, for coffee on the patio between their duplexes. Despite their vastly different finances, they become fast friends during naptimes—while someone watches from the mansion on the cliff overlooking Jessie’s yard. This comedy with dark edges takes an honest look at the absurdities of being home with a baby, the dilemma of returning to work, and how class impacts parenthood and friendship.”
Recent Alien Abductions
By Jorge Ignacio Cortiñas, directed by Les Waters
March 17–April 9 in the Pamela Brown Auditorium
“Álvaro is searching for a lost episode of The X-Files that he swears has been mysteriously altered since its original broadcast, but nobody believes him. Could the missing episode be proof of a larger conspiracy? Years later, when a friend arrives in Puerto Rico hoping to preserve Álvaro’s stories, she must face the family from whom he vanished long ago. A darkly compelling tale about the danger of having no one to trust—and how families, and nations, keep circling the places that haunt them.”
Recent Alien Abductions was commissioned by Playwrights Horizons with funds provided by The New York State Council on the Arts.
By Chelsea Marcantel, directed by Meredith McDonough
March 24–April 9 in the Victor Jory Theatre
“When Nina enters her first air guitar competition, she thinks winning will be easy. But as she befriends a group of charismatic nerds all committed to becoming the next champion, she discovers that there’s more to this art form than playing pretend; it’s about finding yourself in your favorite songs, and performing with raw joy. Will Nina be able to let go and set herself free onstage? Following her mission to shred or be shredded, Airness is an exuberant reminder that everything we need to rock is already inside us.”
The Many Deaths of Nathan Stubblefield
By Jeff Augustin, Sarah DeLappe, Claire Kiechel, and Ramiz Monsef; directed by Eric Hoff
Performed by the actors of the 2016-2017 Professional Training Company and commissioned by Actors Theatre of Louisville
March 24–April 9 in the Bingham Theatre
“The mysterious demise of a Kentucky inventor—and other stories of visionaries from the Bluegrass State—inspire a play that explores the nature of innovation and the myths we tell about it. Writing for the twenty actors in this season’s Professional Training Company, four playwrights boldly celebrate unsung dreamers, unlikely breakthroughs, and the beauty (and occasional hilarity) of failure.”
Tickets to the festival are on sale now. For more information, visit actorstheatre.org. The theatre complex is at 316 West Main Street, Louisville, Kentucky, and the phone number is (502) 584-1205.