The Playgoer: Humana Festival Plays

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Humana Festival Plays

Courtesy of the Louisville Courier-Journal, here are the six full-length plays chosen for the upcoming Actors Theatre of Louisville "Humana Festival."

Headline:No Jane Martin this year.


"Great Falls" (opens Feb. 27 in the Bingham Theatre) -- Lee Blessing, 59, is best-known for his 1986 play, "A Walk in the Woods," about an American and a Russian nuclear-arms negotiator. It was a finalist for a Tony Award and the Pulitzer Prize. Blessing's new play isn't about avoiding global apocalypse, but audiences can expect universal themes involving the human condition in this story of a man and his stepdaughter who are trying to rebuild their lives. New York director Lucie Tiberghien, who was involved in the development of the play, will direct.

"This Beautiful City" (opens March 7 in the Pamela Brown Auditorium) -- Written by Steven Cosson, 39, and Jim Lewis, 50, this play with original music examines the difficulty evangelical Christians and non-evangelicals have finding common ground.

The Civilians spent months interviewing residents in Colorado Springs, Colo., the home of the conservative Christian organization Focus on the Family. During that time, a scandal arose involving evangelical pastor Ted Haggard, who admitted to having sex with a male prostitute. The play evolved into a work about faith and how a community steers through such a crisis.

The play, which will be directed by Cosson, was developed in a workshop at the Sundance Institute. After its premiere at the Humana Festival, the show will go to The Studio Theatre in Washington, D.C.

"Becky Shaw" (opens March 2 in the Bingham Theatre) -- After her breakout success at the 2004 Humana Festival, Gina Gionfriddo landed a job as a writer-producer on NBC's "Law and Order." Her play "After Ashley" was produced off-Broadway with Kieran Culkin, who won a 2005 Obie Award for his performance.

In her new, dark comedy, a newlywed couple's attempt at matchmaking takes them into strange territory. Masterson said he commissioned Gionfriddo to write a play because "I love her work, and I want to see her continue to write for the theater."

The play will be directed by Peter Dubois, associate artistic director of The Public Theatre in New York.

"Neighborhood 3: Requisition of Doom" (opens March 20 in the Victor Jory Theatre) -- "This is a comedy, but it is truly scary. The hair on the back of your neck stands up kind of scary," Masterson said of this play by Jennifer Haley, a Los Angeles playwright in her 30s.

In a subdivision with identical houses, teenagers become addicted to an online video game of horror. Their parents are clueless about the children's activities and how blurred the line between reality and virtual existence has become. "It's a really sharp piece of writing," Masterson said.

Kip Fagan, co-founder of Printer's Devil Theatre in Seattle, will direct.

"the breaks" (opens March 11 in the Bingham Theatre) -- Dancer and poet Marc Bamuthi Joseph, 32, of New York City, was named one of America's Top Young Innovators in the Arts and Sciences by Smithsonian magazine.

This new work by Joseph, a Stanford University resident artist, tells a personal story about being a multicultural person in a multicultural world. Joseph intertwines film, theater and dance in his narrative about hip-hop culture. Masterson predicts "the breaks" will have a long life after its Humana Festival debut.

The production will be directed by Michael John Garces, who provided imaginative direction to last year's Humana hit, "dark play or stories for boys" by Carlos Murillo.

"All Hail Hurricane Gordo" (opens March 15 in the Pamela Brown Auditorium) -- The lives of two brothers go haywire when they take in a female houseguest in this new work by Dartmouth graduate Carly Mensch, 24, of Harrison, N.Y. Masterson said the play is "smart and interesting" and Mensch "has a real gift" for playwriting.

The play will be directed by Actors' associate director Sean Daniels. After its Louisville premiere, the play will be staged at the Cleveland Playhouse.

"Game On" (opens March 21 in the Bingham Theatre) -- This anthology looks at sports in America and what society's obsessions with sports tell us about ourselves. The contributing playwrights are Yale School of Drama graduate Zakiyyah Alexander; Rolin Jones, a Pulitzer finalist for his play "The Intelligent Design of Jenny Chow" and a writer for the Showtime cable TV show "Weeds"; Alice Tuan, who wrote this year's Humana play "Batch"; Daryl Watson, co-creator of the Disney show "Johnny and the Sprites"; Marisa Wegrzyn, resident playwright at Chicago Dramatists; and Ken Weitzman, whose full-length play "The As If Body Loop" was presented at this year's Humana Festival.

The 10-minute plays will be announced later.


Jaime said...

They actually announced the 10-minutes on Playbill a little while ago -

And again, I wish there were any way at all I could get to see these plays. Alas.

Art said...

MFA Iowa
MFA Brown
MFA UC San Diego
Morehouse College
MFA Brown
MFA Brown
MFA Yale,
MFA Yale,
MFA Brown
Washington University
MFA UC San Diego

What a diverse lineup! ;)

Jaime said...

Who are all the Brown MFAs? Neighborhood 3, but who else?

Art said...

Gina Gioffrido (Becky Shaw
and Alice Tuan (One of the Collaborators on the Sports Plays.)

And I think there was one other. I'll have to check.

Anonymous said...

what an MFA f****** joke!!