For lovers of new work, a trip to Louisville to sample shows in rep is a dream vacation. The festival, which in the past has launched such works as The Gin Game, Crimes of the Heart and Keely and Du, is slated for Feb. 25-April 7 (openings are scattered throughout), and is recognized internationally as American regional theatre's major new-play marketplace.
Scheduled in downtown Louisville, KY, are full-length plays Strike-Slip by Naomi Iizuka; When Something Wonderful Ends, a solo-actor play, by Sherry Kramer; dark play or stories for boys by Carlos Murillo; a site-specific Batch: An American Bachelor/ette Party by Alice Tuan; The As If Body Loop by Ken Weitzman; and The Unseen by Craig Wright.
A bill of three 10-minute plays is also staged in the fest.
The festival also includes a piece called The Open Road Anthology, with contributions by playwrights Constance Congdon, Kia Corthron, Michael John Garcés, Rolin Jones, A. Rey Pamatmat and and Kathryn Walat, with music by GrooveLily (Striking 12). Descriptions of the festival's lineup, along with playwright biographies, are as follows:Strike-Slip by Naomi Iizuka, directed by Chay Yew: "In the urban sprawl of Los Angeles, three diverse families each carry a dream, but the recent shooting creates an unexpected seismic shift that rocks each family's foundation. Faults that were once inactive or dormant suddenly appear and abruptly change the way they think about themselves, their community and their dream." Iizuka's other plays include Anonymous, At the Vanishing Point (2004 Humana Festival), 36 Views, Language of Angels and Polaroid Stories (1997 Humana Festival).When Something Wonderful Ends by Sherry Kramer, directed by Tom Moore, produced in cooperation with InterAct Theatre Company: "After the death of her mother, Sherry's family home goes up for sale. Sifting through memories of a seemingly simpler time as she packs up her baby-boom childhood, Sherry begins to connect the dots between her Barbie collection and America's place in the rest of the world. A touching, funny, deeply personal and daringly global one-woman, one-Barbie play." Kramer's plays have been produced extensively here and abroad and include David's RedHaired Death, Things That Break, What A Man Weighs and The Wall of Water.dark play or stories for boys by Carlos Murillo, directed by Michael John Garcés: "A teenage boy's fictional Internet identity begins as a harmless game. But the game takes on a frightening reality when real emotion overtakes his online relationship. When Nick's virtual world collides with the real one, his fantasies of love, intimacy, obsession and betrayal spiral into consequences that lead him to the brink of death." Murillo's plays have been produced and developed at venues throughout the country. He has received grants from the Rockefeller Foundation, a Playwrights' Center Jerome Fellowship (1995-96) and is a two-time winner of the National Latino Playwriting Award (1996 and 2006).Batch: An American Bachelor/ette Party, conceived by Whit MacLaughlin and Alice Tuan with text by Alice Tuan, created by New Paradise Laboratories, directed by Whit MacLaughlin: "Your friend is getting married. Wants to say goodbye to single life forever. You throw a party. A real bash. Does the sky break open? Do you summon the divine? Change? Or just get drunk? Speak now, friends, or forever hold your peace. This collaboration between New Paradise Laboratories and playwright Alice Tuan is the second in NPL's series examining rites of passage." Batch will be performed site-specifically at The Connection, a downtown nightclub at 130 South Floyd St. Whit MacLaughlin is the Obie award-winning artistic director of Philadelphia's experimentalist New Paradise Laboratories. He has conceived, directed and designed ten original works with New Paradise Laboratories, which have performed at Ontological Theatre, PS122, Walker Art Center and The Andy Warhol Museum.The As If Body Loop by Ken Weitzman, directed by Susan V. Booth: "Aaron's sister Sarah is succumbing to a mysteriously icy illness and, to save her, his family must save…well…all humankind, starting with one guy. With great humor, tremendous compassion and a good dose of mysticism, maybe the apocalypse can be kept at bay by a group of eccentrically dysfunctional, but loving, people." Ken Weitzman's productions and development include Atlantic Theater Company, New York's Summer Play Festival, New York Stage and Film, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Mark Taper Forum, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Bay Area Playwrights Festival and Dad's Garage. His awards include a 2003 L. Arnold Weissberger Award for Arrangements.The Unseen by Craig Wright, directed by Marc Masterson. "Imprisoned by a totalitarian regime and mercilessly tortured for unknown crimes, Wallace and Valdez live without hope of escape or release. When an enigmatic new prisoner arrives and begins communicating in code, both men develop new relationships to each other, their captors and themselves. A darkly humorous examination of faith in an uncertain world." Wright's plays include The Pavilion (Drama Desk nomination), Main Street, Orange Flower Water, Recent Tragic Events (American Theater Critics Association and Helen Hayes Award nominations), Molly's Delicious (Barrymore nomination), Melissa Arctic (Helen Hayes Award winner), Grace (Helen Hayes Award nomination) and Lady. He is currently writing a new play on commission from Hartford Stage.
The Open Road Anthology by Constance Congdon, Kia Corthron, Michael John Garcés, Rolin Jones, A. Rey Pamatmat and Kathryn Walat, music by GrooveLily, directed by Will MacAdams: "The call of the open road has reverberated since the founding of our nation: the wind in our hair and promise of a new life around the corner; or in the legacy of land taken, communities divided and the increasingly guarded borders behind which Americans drive. Comic and thought provoking, these writers examine how America's yearning for unfettered freedom resonates today and where it rings hollow." Presented in rotating repertory, festival plays, with the exception of Batch: An American Bachelor/ette Party, will be staged in Actors Theatre's 637-seat Pamela Brown Auditorium, the 318-seat Bingham Theatre and the 159-seat Victor Jory Theatre. Batch will be presented at The Connection, a nightclub at 130 South Floyd St. with a seating capacity of 160.
For single ticket information or reservations call (502) 584-1205 or (800) 4-ATL-TIX, or visit Actors Theatre's website at www.ActorsTheatre.org.
Two Theatre Industry Weekends slated include Theatre Professionals (March 23-24) for artistic directors, literary managers, dramaturgs and playwrights and Special Visitors (March 30-April 1) for journalists and stage, television and film producers, directors and casting agents. For information on Theatre Industry Weekends, call Katherine Bilby at (502) 584-1265.
The Humana Festival is sponsored by the Humana Foundation. Marc Masterson is ATL's artistic director.