Humana Festival at Actor's Theatre of Louisville

Posted on April 03, 2009

I've been meaning to blog all week about my trip last weekend to the Humana Festival at Actor's Theatre of Louisville. There was a lot of really great, innovative work at this year's festival.

I was particularly struck by Ameriville by the Universes, a powerful hip-hop theatre piece using Katrina as a starting point from which to examine contemporary American culture. That production is a non-stop explosion of music, dance, poetry and emotion. I really didn't want it to stop.

I also flipped out over Allison Moore's comedy Slasher, a scathingly funny send-up of slasher flicks. One of the funniest plays. Ever.

There was a really interesting aesthetic blend of work. The fascinating new Charles Mee play Under Construction presented by the SITI Company was highly theatrical pastiche, juxtaposed against the intimate realism of Zoe Kazan's Absalom. There was also a lyrical theatrical adaptation of the poems of Wendell Berry, as well as an intense new play by Naomi Wallace that she wrote after meticulous research into denizens of an enviromentally dangerous neighborhood in Louisville called Rubbertown. The variety was aesthetic, tonal and thematic.

There is something so energizing about seeing all that new work in one weekend. It was especially meaningful this year as I was accompanied by four members of AE's Board of Directors. It was great to be there with them to discuss the work and how we individually intersected with it.

Seriously, if you ever have the time in the spring, it's worth a quick road trip up to Louisville to attend the Humana Festival. It's something I look forward to doing every year.