Monday, April 10, 2017

My Spring Road Trip - Second Stop: Humana Festival in Louisville

After spending the night in Pittsburgh after a delightful walking tour through August Wilson's Hill District, I headed to Louisville Kentucky to take in a few plays at the 41st Humana Festival of New American Plays (an adventure that I can cross off my theater bucket list). 

After checking in at the must see and must stay 21c Museum Hotel in Downtown Louisville and dining at Proof on Main, I headed to the Actors Theatre to begin my humor-filled lineup of new American plays as well as an artist talk by Taylor Mac.   

First Play: We're Gonna Be Okay by Basil Kreimendahl
During the Cuban Missile Crisis, two average American families build a slapdash bomb shelter on their shared property line. With nuclear warfare looming, they wonder: is it the end? The end of baseball…and table manners…and macramé? But as they fret about the fall of civilization, they start to worry that something more personal is at stake. A slyly hilarious, compassionate look at anxiety in America, We’re Gonna Be Okay is about finding the courage to face who we are—and who we want to be.

Second Play: Cry It Out by Molly Smith Metzler 
Cooped up on maternity leave and starved for conversation, Jessie invites her funny and forthright neighbor Lina, also a new mom, for coffee on the patio between their duplexes. Despite their vastly different finances, they become fast friends during naptimes—while someone watches from the mansion on the cliff overlooking Jessie’s yard. This comedy with dark edges takes an honest look at the absurdities of being home with a baby, the dilemma of returning to work, and how class impacts parenthood and friendship.

Third Play: I Now Pronounce by Tasha Gordon-Solmon
After Adam and Nicole’s wedding culminates in an awkwardly timed fatality, the reception spins into an increasingly strange evening that leaves the bride and groom questioning just what it is they’re celebrating. But there’s no stopping the festivities: the flower girls are running amuck, the bridal party members are more preoccupied with their own flailing relationships, and everyone needs to stop ordering the blue drinks. Comedies end in marriage. Tragedies end in death. This play begins with both.

Artist Insight: Taylor Mac - Talk

Overall, the festival was worthwhile and I wish that I could make it an annual trip. I liked the variety I saw in my three play lineup and was surprise how many actors I recognized from the New York City stage. Not surprisingly,the play Cry It Out and its themes around womanhood, class, and motherhood resonated most with me. Surprisingly, Taylor Mac's talk was one of the highlights for me. It made me regret that I did not see his A 24-Decade History of Popular Music at St. Ann's Warehouse, but now, I have another artist to keep my eyes on. That's how these things are...

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