The 26th Annual Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville will include six full-length plays, including works by Tina Howe, Anne Bogart and Charles Mee, March 3-April 13, 2002, the theatre announced Dec. 7.
The Tony Award-honored nonprofit is known throughout the world for its commitment to new works in the annual late-winter festival on three stages.
Anne Bogart, artistic director of the SITI Company whose works are typically rich with ideas, movement and images that ricochet off each other, conceives and directs Score, which "chronicles the ideas and obsessions of one of America's greatest figures — Leonard Bernstein. Adapted from the writings of this distinguished conductor, teacher and extraordinary composer, it looks at the passionate relationship that exists between a man and his music." His writings were adapted by Jocelyn Clark, of Ireland, who has written three adaptations for the SITI Company.
Timothy Douglas will direct Jerome Hairston's A.M. Sunday, a family drama that begins on a Sunday morning and follows the next five, intense days. The work is a "tale of an interracial couple who reach a painful turning point in their relationship and that of their two young sons, both of whom are arriving at a time in their lives when everything is in question." Hairston is a recent graduate of Columbia University's MFA playwriting program. He is a 2001 playwriting fellow at Manhattan Theatre Club.
John Rando (The Dinner Party, Urinetown) directs Tina Howe's Rembrandt's Gift, about "sixtysomething actor-turned-hoarder Walter Paradise and his wife, photographer Polly Shaw," who "are about to get evicted form their Soho loft because of Walter's clutter. Suddenly into their lives come Rembrandt, the great 17th century Dutch painter, with whom they spend the day testing the limits of art, love and old age." Howe's plays include Painting Churches, Pride's Crossing, Coastal Disturbances, Museum and more. This play was commissioned by Actors Theatre. ATL artistic director Marc Masterson stages Charles L. Mee's Limonade Tous les Jours, a springtime-in-Paris play in which "love is in the air for an older man and a younger woman. As the relationship blossoms, both — each recovering from a broken heart — know they shouldn't be together, yet together is exactly where they find themselves." Mee's Big Love (seen at the 24th Humana Fest) and True Love are on New York stages in fall 2001. His other works include The Berlin Circle, bobrauschenbergamerica (25th Humana Festival) and Time to Burn.
Richard Corley directs Marlane Meyer's The Mystery of Attraction, a dark comedy about brothers Ray and Warren, who are "both in trouble — Ray with the maniacs from whom he's borrowed money, Warren with his wife who happens to be his brother's ex-beloved. As they ponder their predicaments, they embark on a revealing discussion of their fascination and loathing for the female of the species, testing the limits of marriage and morality." Meyer, a TV producer, penned the play The Chemistry of Change.
Michael John Garcés directs Adam Rapp's Finer Noble Gases, about "pill-popping Chase and Staples, member of a band once called Lester's Surprise, now remembered simply as Less," who "sit mesmerized in front of their TV — until the television's demise. When they conjure up a plan to steal their neighbor's TV, the events that follow are comedic and disturbingly existential." Rapp's plays have been produced by American Repertory Theatre, New York Theatre Workshop, the Bush Theatre in London, Berkeley Rep, Victory Gardens Theatre and the Juilliard School.
The 10-Minute Plays in 2002 are Classyass by Caleen Sinnette Jennings, about a smart-mouthed freshman DJ, Nightswim by Julia Jordan, about two girls and an inviting nearby lake at midnight, and Bake Off by Sheri Wilner, about a lady baker bitter that a man won last year's bake off.
The 2002 Humana Festival will also include "a dramatic anthology written by 15 playwrights and a multi-writer project that will use the exploration of technology and live performance as its inspiration." Details about those efforts will be announced later.
The yearly festival has been underwritten by the Humana Foundation, the philanthropic arm of health-care provider Humana, Inc., for 23 consecutive years.
— By Kenneth Jones