Blessing, Cosson & Lewis, Gionfriddo, Haley, Joseph, Mensch Are 2008 Humana Fest Writers

News   Blessing, Cosson & Lewis, Gionfriddo, Haley, Joseph, Mensch Are 2008 Humana Fest Writers
The works slated for the 32nd Annual Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville have been announced.

Six full-length plays have been announced, in addition to one-acts and an "anthology" work by several contributors. The internationally recognized fount of new American works (this is where The Gin Game and other hits got their start) will boast 11 world premieres in rep on ATL's three stages Feb. 24-March 30, 2008.

No fewer than 17 emerging and established playwrights will be represented, artistic director Marc Masterson announced Dec. 14.

Full-length plays are Great Falls by Lee Blessing (New York City), This Beautiful City by Steven Cosson (New York City) and Jim Lewis (New York City), Becky Shaw by Gina Gionfriddo (New York City), Neighborhood 3: Requisition of Doom by Jennifer Haley (Los Angeles), the break/s by Marc Bamuthi Joseph (Oakland, CA) and All Hail Hurricane Gordo by Carly Mensch (New York City).

Ten-Minute plays are Tongue, Tied by M. Thomas Cooper (Portland, OR), Dead Right by Elaine Jarvik (Salt Lake City, In Paris You Will Find Many Baguettes but Only One True Love by Michael Lew (New York City) and One Short Sleepe by Naomi Wallace (native of Prospect, KY, residing in Skipton, North Yorkshire).

The dramatic anthology, Game On, is written by Zakiyyah Alexander (New York City), Rolin Jones (Los Angeles), Alice Tuan (Los Angeles), Daryl Watson (New York City), Marisa Wegrzyn (Chicago) and Ken Weitzman (Atlanta). This year's festival marks 30 years of continuous support from its underwriter, The Humana Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Humana Inc.

Descriptions of the festival's world premiere line-up follow.


  • Great Falls by Lee Blessing, directed by Lucie Tiberghien. "A man lost in his adult life drives across the West with his stepdaughter — a young girl at the beginning of hers. The broken ground is echoed by their broken past. He's trying to fit together a new life using pieces of the old. She's just trying to survive."
  • This Beautiful City by Steven Cosson and Jim Lewis, music and lyrics by Michael Friedman, from interviews by The Civilians, directed by Steven Cosson. "The Civilians took a group of actors to Colorado Springs — the unofficial headquarters of Evangelical America — to learn firsthand about this growing movement. The resulting musical play explores a city where questions of religion and public life are brought to the surface in ways that range from the subtle to the dramatic, notably the explosive fall of Pastor Ted Haggard. Co-produced with The Studio Theatre in Washington, D.C."
  • Becky Shaw by Gina Gionfriddo, directed by Peter DuBois, commissioned by Actors Theatre of Louisville. "A newlywed couple fixes up two romantically challenged friends: Wife's best friend, meet husband's sexy and strange new co-worker. When an evening calculated to bring happiness takes a dark turn, crisis and comedy ensue. This wickedly funny play asks what we owe the people we love and the strangers who land on our doorstep."
  • Neighborhood 3: Requisition of Doom by Jennifer Haley, directed by Kip Fagan. "In a suburban subdivision with identical houses, parents find their teenagers addicted to an online horror video game. The game setting? A subdivision with identical houses. The goal? Smash through an army of zombies to escape the neighborhood for good. But as the line blurs between virtual and reality, both parents and players realize that fear has a life of its own."
  • the break/s by Marc Bamuthi Joseph, directed by Michael John Garcés. "With two turntables, live feed and a spoken word virtuoso, the living history of the hip-hop generation is dramatically realized through the performed personal narrative of poet Marc Bamuthi Joseph. Drawing on interviews and documentary footage, this collaboration between performer, score and projected image puts hip-hop culture into personal, historical and political perspective while exploding the boundaries of theater, dance and film."
  • All Hail Hurricane Gordo by Carly Mensch, directed by Sean Daniels. "The routines of daily life get blown apart when two brothers take in a plucky young houseguest. While India is running away from her relatively normal family, Chaz is struggling to find normalcy in the one he already has. Is it possible to be your brother's keeper and have a life too? Co-produced with The Cleveland Play House." BILL OF FOUR TEN-MINUTE PLAYS

  • Tongue, Tied by M. Thomas Cooper. "Plagued by malcontent sock puppets, two lost souls seek professional help. A zany and raucous exploration of accepting oddity—even if it's stuck to your hand."
  • Dead Right by Elaine Jarvik. "A friend's flawed obituary propels Penny and her unwitting husband Bill headlong into prickly unanswered questions about their own lives. A touching comedy about who we are, how we see ourselves, and how we hope to be remembered."
  • In Paris You Will Find Many Baguettes but Only One True Love by Michael Lew. "Liz is looking for true love and Lindy is looking to fix her broken heart — so they head, of course, to Paris. When Liz finds the man of her dreams, Lindy faces a decision: can we just let our friends be happy? Advisory: This play contains a mime."
  • One Short Sleepe by Naomi Wallace. "A young Lebanese student spins a web of connections between what he knew, what his sister saw, and the war that threatened them both." DRAMATIC ANTHOLOGY

  • Game On by Zakiyyah Alexander, Rolin Jones, Alice Tuan, Daryl Watson, Marisa Wegryzn and Ken Weitzman, music and lyrics by Jon Spurney, directed by Will MacAdams. "We're ready to play with guts and heart and rise to the challenge of examining American culture through the prism of sports. Sports touch all of our lives whether we are fans, players, tax- or tuition-payers. In this Olympic and election year, what do sports tell us about ourselves?" *

    The festival plays will be presented in rotating repertory in Actors Theatre's 637-seat Pamela Brown Auditorium, 318-seat Bingham Theatre and 159-seat Victor Jory Theatre.

    Two weekends featuring festival plays are slated for industry professionals. Theatre Professional Weekend (March 21-23) is for artistic directors, literary managers and playwrights. Press, producers, directors, casting agents from stage, film and television are invited to Special Visitors Weekend (March 28-30).

    For information or reservations call (502) 584-1205 or (800) 4-ATL-TIX, or visit Actors Theatre's website at

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