37th annual Humana Festival Actors Theatre hosts month-long series in Louisville

By Joey Yazell–

This year is the 37th Annual Humana Festival of New American plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville. Each play that will run is a world premiere. This year there are a total of six brand new plays that have never been seen before, written by 11 writers from all around the country. Each play brings totally new aspects and ideas into the theatrical world. This is truly a landmark for theatre throughout the entire country and its located right here in our very own wonderful city of Louisville. Actors Theatre of Louisville is known nationally and internationally for being the birthplace of countless groundbreaking plays.

With the support from the Humana Foundation, it ensures the ability of Actors Theatre to host and produce such amazing works of art in various ways. It also ensures Actors Theatre’s growth and sustainability in today’s American theatre. This is the longest running partnership between a corporation and a theatre company in the country. It is also the largest and most successful event of its kind. The Humana Foundation has been supporting this festival for 34 years consistently and will continue to do so far into the future.

“I’m proud to say that our home town of Louisville provides a national example of the profound impact that art can have on our citizens” -Congressman John Yarmouth

Each year the festival attracts over 40,000 people from every state in the country as well as other countries around the world to come see the truly great work and bond of Actors Theatre and the Humana foundation.

“It serves as a catalyst for new American theatre and playwrights” Virginia Kelly Judd, Executive Director, Humana Foundation.

“We live in a rapidly changing world, what we need to value and protect is the unique roll theatre plays in our community” Les Waters, Artistic Director, Actors Theatre.

This year’s lineup includes:

“The Delling Shore”, written by Sam Marks, Directed by Meredith McDonough

Sam Marks has been recognized as one of “50 playwrights to watch” by The Dramatist Magazine and will be making his debut at Actors Theatre with “The Delling Shore”, a story about one bristling evening of two writers and their offspring who use words as weapons towards each other as jealousy overcomes them. This play runs from March 1, through April 7, 2013.

“I find the play delicious,” said Meredith McDonough, associate artistic director at Actors Theater.

“Appropriate” written by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Directed by Gary Griffin

Branden Jacobs-Jenkins is an award winning playwright and dramaturg who has had productions in many different companies internationally. His play “Appropriate” explores the experience of three siblings who arrive at their deceased fathers Arkansan plantation. Filled with disturbing discoveries and confrontations the reunion takes an interesting turn.  “Appropriate” opens March 7, and runs through April 7.

“Cry old Kingdom” written by Jeff Augustin directed by Tom Dugdale

Jeff Augustin will be debuting his professional Playwriting career with “Cry Old Kingdom” at the 37th annual Humana Festival of New American plays.  “Cry Old Kingdom” takes place in Haiti in 1964. With Francois “Papa Doc” Duvalier’s repressing regime amidst. Forcing impossible choices, one artist that has been in hiding comes across a boat-building man escaping to America, he asks him to pose for a painting. The artist named Edwin feels alive again for the first time in years, even when nobody is safe.  Opening night is March 10 and will run through April 7, 2013.

“Gnit”, written by Will Eno, directed by Les Waters, Artistic Director

Will Eno, a multi award-winning Playwright including Horton Foote Prize, a finalist for the 2005 pulitzer prize and the recipient of the unique Residency Five Fellowship, with productions at many respectable companies across the country.  “Gnit” is directed by Mr. Les Waters, an Obie award winning director that has been ranked among the years best in The New Yorker, New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today and many others.

This play is about a man named Peter “Gnit” who makes a lifetime of bad decisions while searching for his true self. A willfully American misreading of Henrik Ibsen’s “Peer Gynt,” a 19th century Norwegian play which is famous for all the wrong reasons. “Gnit” opens on March 15, running through April 7, 2013.

“O Guru Guru Guru or Why I don’t want to go to yoga class with you”, Written by Mallery Avidon, directed by Lila Neugebauer

Mallery Avidon has had multiple productions around the country- her play “Breaks & Bikes” that is currently playing at Pavement Group in Chicago. Her play is a an explanation by Lila, who is tries to explain that it’s not that she dislikes yoga or you or anything like that, she is just trying to find herself through a precarious process. Opening on March 20, running through April 7, 2013.

“Sleep Rock Thy Brain”, written by Rinne Groff, Lucas Hnath, and Anne Washburn, Conceived by Amy Attaway and Sarah Lunnie

Each writer brings their talents and new ideas together to collaborate on this community wide partnership, Developed at Actors theatre and in partnership with the University of Louisville and original aerial choreography by ZFX flying Effects, Lincoln Performing Arts School and Jefferson County Public Schools. This will be an experience to say the least. “Sleep Rock Thy Brain” is about the infinite mysteries that involve sleep. Even when you stop to rest, your brain is never quiet. This opens on March 22, and will run through April 7, 2013

The 37th annual Humana Festival will top off with a bill of three ten minute plays that were selected in the National contest called “The Tens”. This Conclusion will be held on April 6 and 7.
Graphic courtesy

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