The Playgoer: Oh, the Humana-ty!

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Oh, the Humana-ty!

"Ever more, it seems, the storied Humana Festival of New American Plays at the Actors Theatre of Louisville is being undermined by a confusion of purpose. The agents, critics, artistic directors and other national theater professionals who've been arriving here every spring for years come mostly to find the viable, exportable and, above all, buzz-worthy play. Yet Marc Masterson, this theater's artistic director, hates the Kentucky Derby aspect of the festival he inherited from founder Jon Jory. Masterson prefers to program intensely experimental works -- often with quirky, fantastical themes and with storytelling low on the list of priorities.

Many of these pieces, it seems, are destined only for the nation's smallest theaters, assuming they don't crash and burn in Kentucky, as often is the case. For as Chicagoans well know, the best of such work invariably takes place among ensemble artists who live and work together in the same city, not among casts imported for an individual production in a high-stakes festival."

-A provocative reaction,
to the current Humana Festival by the Chicago Trib's Chris Jones.
Although biased toward the Chicago ensemble tradition yet against the experimental, some good questions here for what once was an emminent event, but now must reinvent itself post-Jon Jory.

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