Louisville, KY — Ten Minute Plays, Thomas Merton’s 100th Birthday, Bluegrass Music, Family Dysfunction, and Secrets of a Small Town highlighted this year’s Humana Festival of New American Plays.
Actors Theatre knows how to throw out the Welcome Mat for out-of-town guests, and this year was no exception. The Kentucky Bourbon was ‘aflowin’, and at Milkwood, the Edward Lee eatery beneath Actors, they believe in delivering a generous pour.
“I think I finally have a true understanding of Southern Hospitality. What a blast!” says playwright Patricia Cotter of San Francisco, whose well-received play, Rules of Comedy, highlighted The Ten-Minute Plays at this year’s festival.
Of the six offerings at Humana, Dot, by Colman Domingo, an African-American family drama set around Christmas-time, stood out among the rest as the most-realized play. Expect to see productions of it across the country in the years ahead.
However, seeing Artistic Director Les Waters onstage in the production of Charles Mee’s The Glory of The World, a chaotic sendup of a Men’s Encounter Group celebrating the 100th birthday of mystic Thomas Merton, was a special treat.
The audience paid special attention because it was Waters who sort of stood in for the playwright in the opening and closing of the piece which, in its best moments, reminded the audience the need for Silence and Introspection in one’s life.
Finally, one of the great strengths of Actors Theatre is its supremely talented production department as evidenced by the dynamic launches of new plays by Erin Courtney (I Will Be Gone) and Pig Iron Theatre Company (I Promised Myself to Live Faster).
I attended my first Humana Festival in 1989 (yikes!), and I find Louisville to be transformed in a wonderful way, bursting with creativity, and at its heart is Actors Theatre, a place where, over the course of a 3-day weekend, one can mingle and debate Storytelling with writers, directors, sound designers, actors, and other theatre folk from across the country. Simply put, it’s a wonderful experience worth having year after year.
Until next year, Louisville….
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