Coble, Mee and Rebeck Among Playwrights Snagged for 30th Humana Fest of New Plays

News   Coble, Mee and Rebeck Among Playwrights Snagged for 30th Humana Fest of New Plays Titles have been announced for the new works in the 30th anniversary of the Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville.
Charles L. Mee
Charles L. Mee Photo by Aubrey Reuben

The in-rep plays will be performed March 7-April 8, 2006, at the three-venue ATL complex on Main Street in downtown Louisville, and the world-renowned fest is sponsored by the Humana Foundation.

The festival is where The Gin Game, Crimes of the Heart and other works launched prior to becoming part of the literature of American theatre.

The six major works of the festival are Six Years by Sharr White, Act a Lady by Jordan Harrison, The Scene by Theresa Rebeck, Natural Selection by Eric Coble, Hotel Cassiopoeia by by Charles L. Mee and Low's Journey: The Diary of a Psychotic Rapper by Rha Goddess.

Neon Mirage, a special work with contributions by Liz Duffy Adams, Dan Dietz, Rick Hip-Flores, Julie Jensen, Lisa Kron, Tracey Scott Wilson and Chay Yew, is also part of the fest, and a bill of three ten-minute plays (short works by winners of an annual contest).

Here's a breakdown of the 2006 Humana works and authors:

  • Six Years by Sharr White, in repertory March 7–April 1, Bingham Theatre. "After six silent years, Phil Granger returns home to his wife, Meredith, shattered by all he witnessed in World War II. We return to Phil and Meredith every six years, from the post-war boom through the quagmire of Vietnam, in this poignant examination of damaged souls in an era of unparalleled change." Sharr White's plays include The Escape Velocity of Savages, Satellites of the Sun and Iris Fields, among others. He is a two-time finalist for the Princess Grace Award and winner of the Dr. Henry and Lillian Nesburn Award (part of Julie Harris Award in Playwriting). He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Evelyn, and son, Conrad.

  • Act a Lady by Jordan Harrison, in repertory March 7–April 1, Pamela Brown Auditorium. "When the men of a small Prohibition-era town decide to put on a play dressed in 'fancy-type, women-type clothes,' the whole community is affected: gender lines blur, eyebrows raise, identities explode, and life and art are forever entangled. A thoughtful, exuberant Midwestern fable about the woman in every man, the man in every woman and the power of theatre to uncover both. Accompanied by accordion." Jordan Harrison's plays include Finn in the Underworld (Berkeley Repertory Theatre), Kid-Simple (2004 Humana Festival) and The Museum Play. He is the recipient of the Heideman Award, Jerome and McKnight Fellowships from The Playwright's Center and a 2005 NEA/TCG Playwright-in-Residence grant. A graduate of Brown University’s M.F.A. program, Harrison is a resident playwright at New Dramatists.

  • The Scene by Theresa Rebeck, in repertory March 11–April 2, Bingham Theatre. "Clea's new to the scene. Lewis wants to make a new scene from the old scene. Charlie was part of the scene and Stella's trying not to make a scene. This biting new black comedy takes on New York, the entertainment industry, marriage and even Ohio. Three old friends hitting middle age have their worlds upended by the new hot, young thing." Theresa Rebeck plays include Off-Broadway's Bad Dates, The Butterfly Collection, View of the Dome, The Family of Mann, Loose Knit, Spike Heels and Omnium-Gatherum. Her work has been seen at Long Wharf Theatre, Victory Gardens Theater, The Source, New York Stage and Film, Hartford Stage. She has also written for "Dream On," "Brooklyn Bridge," "L.A. Law," "Third Watch" and "NYPD Blue."

  • Natural Selection by Eric Coble, in repertory March 16–April 8, Pamela Brown Auditorium. "We're in the not-so-distant future where the Culture Fiesta Theme Park needs to restock the natives of the Native American Pavilion, and curator Henry Carson must venture into the wastes of North America to find one. But will his new acquisition make a blip on his wife's blog? And what's up with all this rain?" Eric Coble has seen his plays produced on four continents and throughout the United States, including the recent Off-Broadway production of Bright Ideas at Manhattan Class Company. Coble is a member of the Cleveland Play House Playwrights Unit, and his awards include the AT&T Onstage Award and National Theatre Conference Playwriting Award.

  • Hotel Cassiopoeia by Charles L. Mee, performed by the SITI Company, in repertory March 21–April 2, Victor Jory Theatre. "The American collage artist Joseph Cornell made wooden boxes filled with pocket watches, coiled springs, maps of the stars, a forest of thimbles, parrots, seashells, broken glass, children's alphabet blocks, brightly colored balls, soap bubbles, whales' teeth, a colored lithograph of the moon in the night sky, star fish. How would it be if those boxes could speak? About art, about America, about compassion and longing and loneliness and heartbreak." Charles Mee has written Big Love and True Love and First Love, bobrauschenbergamerica and Summertime and Wintertime, among other plays, all of them available on the internet at www.charlesmee.org. His work is made possible by the support of Richard B. Fisher and Jeanne Donovan Fisher.

  • Low's Journey: Diary of a Psychotic Rapper Meditations with the Goddess Trilogy: Part One by Rha Goddess, a co-production of Divine Dime, Ltd. and Made in da Shade, in repertory March 25–April 2, Victor Jory Theatre. "Acclaimed artist and social activist, Rha Goddess poses the question: What is insanity? This one-woman, multidisciplinary theatre piece explores the mythology, stigma, fear and confusion surrounding mental illness and asserts that reaching a real state of 'well being' is a revolutionary act. A visceral, kinetic and truly live show, Low's Journey is a mixture of reality, fantasy, insanity and truth." Rha Goddess is a world-renowned performance artist/activist whose work has appeared on several international compilations, anthologies, forums and festivals. She has been featured on numerous international music compilations and in several international festivals. In addition to working on Meditations With the Goddess, her current projects include Next Wave of Women & Power/We Got Issues!

  • Neon Mirage by Liz Duffy Adams, Dan Dietz, Rick Hip-Flores, Julie Jensen, Lisa Kron, Tracey Scott Wilson an Chay Yew, three days only March 25 & 31 and April 1, Bingham Theatre. "Las Vegas: where the rugged outdoors meets Oz, where America's central myth of unbridled possibility collides with its compulsion for perpetual self-invention. In the middle of the desert, glitz and grit combine in a place that is as narcotic as it is undeniably real. What happens where so much possibility and so much failure meet? Six writers and a composer, along with the Actors Apprentice Company, are going to find out." Admission to Neon Mirage is free but tickets are required. For more information about the plays of Humana and the regular season of the Tony Award-honored Actors Theatre of Louisville, visit www.actorstheatre.org.