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Humana Festival

Spring 2012

Report on The Humana-Festival of 2012







There are many Sites-of-Interest in LouisvilleLooville, to some Locals€including Churchill-Downs, the Speed-Art-Museum, & the Louisville-Slugger-Museum, but the Recycled-Bank that€s the Architectural-Showpiece of Actors-Theatre-of-Louisville is certainly the Center-of-Interest during the Industry & Critics-Weekends of the Annual-Humana-Festival of New-American-Plays.


Nonetheless, there is also a somewhat theatrical Caravansary just up Main-Street from the Theatre-Complex.


This is the 21c-Museum-Hotel, a boutique-hotel that is also a very special kind of Art-Gallery.

Art Hotel Symbol


Art seems to be everywhere in the Museum. In its cavernous Atrium-Space, there are even Performances, occasionally involving the Art-on-the-Walls.

Hotel Art Atrium


All the Art on-view, however, is Art-of-the-21st-Century!


No Renoirs on the Walls of the Boutique-Bedrooms


The Hotel€s Signature-Image, however, is an Orange-Penguin.


Among the American-Artists who have been featured in the Hotel are Kara Walker, Bill Viola, Chuck Close, & Kehinde Wiley.


Currently, Cloning is on-view, in some of the works of the Cuban-American, Anthony Goicolea.

Boys in Pool

He€s called this show ALTEREGO. In some of his haunting-scenes of Naughty-Boys, all the Boys are Clones of the Artist.

Boys in Woods

Some of these scenes suggest Teen-Porn



The 36th Annual Humana-Festival Moves Ever Forward: More & More New-American-Plays!

Humana Poster


There must be thousands of New-American-Plays written every year all over America!


If your Ford-Factory has closed, or the School-Board has fired you for Gross-Incompetence, you can Always-Write-a-Play!


In fact, if they are correct about Write-What-You-Know, exposing the Corruption of both the Factory-Management & the School-Board-Members might be good Starting-Points


If you are any good at it, your play might even be produced next Spring in Louisville at the Humana-Festival.


Or in Denver, at the New-Play-Summit.


Even the Oldest-Town in West-Virginia now has its very own Fest:  Featuring America€s Newest Plays€


Oddly enough, the actual Name of that Town is not anywhere to be found on the Handsome-Business-Card given Your Roving Arts-Reporter on the Airport-Shuttle by a Promoter of the Contemporary-American-Theatre-Festival. But do try CATF.ORG for further info!


If you are fortunate enough to have an Actual-Production of your New-Play at a Regional-Theatre, then you€or, at least, Your-Play€are/is eligible for consideration for the Annual Steinberg/ATCA-New-Play-Award.


The Play-Reading-Committee of the American-Theatre-Critics-Association has to shuffle through some Hundreds-of-Submissions, finally reading Scores-of-Scripts.


Bill Hirschman, our resourceful Play-Reading-Chairman, has often urged Your Arts-Reporter to dive into these Scripts, but I hardly have time to Proof what I€m writing right now.


I think it€s enough that I€m a Board-Member of the ATCA-Foundation, which allocates our share of the Award-Money that€s pooled with the generosity of the Harold & Mimi Steinberg Charitable-Trust


This Spring, Yussef el Guindi won the $25,000 Award. His astonishing drama is: Pilgrims Musa & Sheri in the New World.


Two additional Awards of $7,500 went to Ken LaZebnick€s On the Spectrum & to A. Rey Pamatmat€s Edith Can Shoot Things & Hit Them. This oddment was produced last year at the Humana.


My Report on Edith is on-line in last Spring€s Humana-Screed, to be found on Glenn Loney€s Show-Notes


What Do You Do When Your Print-Outlet Dies?


In addition to Giving-Out-Awards, other non-play-activities included a Panel!


This one was called Critiquing Criticism: (re)imagining the future.


It€s not just a matter of Losing those Two-on-the-Aisle Free-Tickets when the Toledo-Blade-Sentinel-Mercury-Herald-Intelligencer-Sun-Times-Post-News-Journal-World-Telegram-Examiner-Mirror goes-under.


It€s also all about finding or creating a New-Venue on-line€


But you need to think about whom you are writing for: Theatre-Publicists, who need some Good-Quotes; Box-Office-Managers, who need some Bums-in-Seats; or Real-People, who might just buy some tickets on the basis of your recommendation.


Or Save-Money, if you hated the show€


But how do Potential-Ticket-Buyers find Your-Reviews out there in Ethernet-Space?




Dr. Polly Carl, Editor of Howlround, was the incisive Moderator.


A High-Point in the General-Festivities was the Introduction to Outsiders of Les Waters, who is the new Artistic-Director of Actors-Theatre-of-Louisville.



Sorry, Wrong Number! Lisa Kron Has Trouble with Her Phone-Bill! Would You Mind Holding€


Lisa Kron has carefully protected herself from Lawsuits by naming her Orchestrated-Frustrations with her Telephone-&-Internet-Service-Provider: The Veri**zon Play.


This is her Primal-Scream about the Screwing-Over we€ve all been getting from such Major-Corporations-as-People as Verizon, Delta, & Chase:


Your Call is important to Us! So would you mind waiting half-an-hour, listening to Salsa-Music, until one of our Customer-Service-Representatives in Bangladesh is able to speak to you in Pidgin-English?


Beginning with a Paid-Bill that kept showing-up each Month€for months-on-end€Kron got so furious that she decided to Write-a-Playl


But she€s been careful not to make it Crazy-Lady-Ranting, so it€s both Funny & Noirish.


Slyly staged by Nicholas Martin, it stars Kron as the much-abused Jenni, who seeks Revenge on Verizon™©. But she finds the Rot goes much deeper than any of us has imagined.


Put down your Receivers! Kron€s hilarious play hasn€t yet moved to Manhattan.


But it is sure to be on-stage soon, not only in New-York, but Across-the-Nation!


Who has not been left hanging-on-the-line by a Customer-Service-Rep who learned English in Delhi or Bangkok?


Your Roving Arts-Reporter is still trying to get rid of Bill-Collectors, seeking payment for an Air-Berlin-Flight that was never made.


American-Express settled this long ago, even sending a Refund-Check.



Should We Keep Very Old, Rich, Selfish, & Cantankerous People Alive When Their Shelf-Life is Up?


Ben Franklin once said that there are only Two-Certainties: Death & Taxes.


Playwright Lucas Hnath tackles them both in his aptly-named Death-Tax.


Judith Roberts could be the Wrath-of-God, as she desperately Clings-to-Life, not so much To-Be-Alive, as to frustrate her Hated-Daughter & deny her a Huge-Inheritance.


Her Angry-Malevolence destroys some who have tried to help her, but also To-Help-Themselves


This Play almost makes-a-case for those Death-Panels with which the Tea-Partiers were threatening us.


Confined to a Hospital-Bed, she is a Shrew, a Scold, & Terminally-Selfish.


Unfortunately, she does not die of Meanness, but lives on & on & on.


Hospital-Beds seem all-the-rage now: The Lyons & Wit both have them Center-Stage.


The Multi-Millionaire€or is it Multi-Billionaire?€Pete Peterson has insisted that Old-People who are no longer Productive & who cannot care for themselves should be Eased-Out.


This, of course, does not apply to Rich-Old-Millionaires


Ken Rus Schmoll staged, but he is in No-Danger of becoming another Pete Peterson or Mitt Romney on a Stage-Director€s-Fee.



From Rap to Hip-Hop: Two Tyros Try It On in How We Got On


Were it not for Idris Goodwin€s Insights into aspects of the Popular-Culture that are seldom known to those who listen to The Good-Music-Station: WQXR, the Crazy-Rhymers would still be a Mystery to some.


Colleagues who are Connoisseurs of Street-Music€especially Rap & Hip-Hop€loved this show.


I admired the almost-compulsive Rap-Rhyming of Hank [Terrell Donnell Sledge] & Julian [Brian Quijada].


Wendy C. Goldberg staged.



Don€t Be a Messy-Eater, Please! Leave Those Bananas Alone! Oh! Gastronomy! Oh! Interns!


The Talented-Interns of Actors-Theatre put on a show every year.


For this Fest, the emphasis was on Food, its Preparation, & Eating.


If you want the Complete-List of Songs & Skits presented in Oh, Gastronomy!, log-on to the ActorsTheatre.Org Website:



Looking for Love, Looking for a Kid To Call Your Own, Looking for Security: Eat Your Heart Out


Courtney Brown€s Eat Your Heart Out comes close to being a Heartbreaker with its Desperate-People Looking-for-Love€


Gabe [Mike DiSalvo] & Alice [Kate Arrington], a smart, successful Couple are desperate to Adopt.


But they have to undergo an Invasive-Interrogation to be judged Fit-for-Parenting.


This is being conducted by the Lovelorn Nance [Kate Eastwood Norris], who has Real-Problems with her unlovable Overweight-Daughter Evie [Sarah Grodsky].


Thanks to the Internet, Nance has just met a Lovable-Man [Alex Moggridge] who might just be Mr. Right


There is enough Anger, Rage, Disappointment, Despair, Longing, & even Love to go round for all.


This is a drama that is sure to find eager & understanding Audiences in New York & across the country.


But, because it has a series of Rapid-Fire-Scenes that almost Overlap, a conventional Proscenium-Staging won€t work to the play€s advantage.


But, in Louisville, in the Bingham-Theatre€with its Theatre-in-the-Square Conformation€Scene-Changes can be swifter than swift. Furniture & Props rise up out of the floor€


Circle-in-the-Square is the only Manhattan-Theatre that can function as does the Bingham. But it€s, at the moment, cursed with Godspell.


Tom Tutino designed the animated-settings, with Adam Greenfield sensitively-staging.



After Urinetown, the Crusade to Free-Constantinople from the Infidel-Ottoman-Turks!


After the roaring Off-off-Broadway Success of Urinetown€with a subsequent Transfer from what looked like an Abandoned-Court-House or JailGreg Kotis & his collaborator told a Drama-Desk-Panel that they had Quit-Their-Daytime-Jobs.


As things have turned-out, this may not have been a Wise-Decision, if Kotis€ Humana-Offering is any indication.


At the Drama-Desk, someone asked Kotis what would be next, after Urinetown.


No forthcoming Projects were noted, so I suggested that there was really nowhere to go, after Urinetown, unless one marched onward to Shit-City


With his new play, Michael von Siebenburg Melts Through the Floorboards, Kotis seems to have reached that Destination, identified in the Humana-Program as "An American City.€


But there€s also Another-City in this odd drama: Constantinople, circa 1453, when the Ottoman-Turks invaded & conquered this Ancient-Christian-City, a formerly a center of Mediterranean-Civilization.


Michael€s Problem€aside from the painfully-fake German-Accent he has to use€is that he dates-back to the Crusades, from which a Chief-Crusader keeps coming back to Now, to urge him to return to the Walls of what is now Istanbul, to free it from the Muslim-Infidel.


So, both Michael [Rufus Collins] & his Seducer/Sidekick Sammy [Micah Stock] are really Undead.


But they are not Simple-Vampires or Werewolves.


No! They are Fresh-Flesh-Eaters!


Sammy seduces likely Young-Ladies, bringing them to the elegant Austrian-Baron, who may bed them but who prefers to murder them & reduce their bodies to something like Big-Mac Hamburger-Meat.


This he shares with the always-hungry Sammy, who chomps-down on several packages of Raw-Meat.


It may be Kotis€ Idea to cash-in on the Current Vampire-Lover Rage, with something Stronger than Human-Blood. [In Louisville, is there such a thing for Local-Vampires as Humana-Blood?]


Or Kotis may be going-all-the-way in spoofing Vampire-Lover Novels & Films?


If so, he may have miscalculated.


Several Colleagues left at the Intermission: The Sight of Sammy munching on a huge block of Red-Meat really upset them€


Kip Fagan directed.



Next-Door-Neighbors Can Be Crazy, a Drag, or Even Friends: Try Apartments 423 & 424!


The Ballad of 423 & 424 was the Best of the Ten-Minute-Plays.


Nicholas C. Pappas imagines the perky Ellen [the hilarious Kate Eastwood Norris] moving-in next-door to an eccentric but famous Author [David Barlow].


This is a Curtain-Raiser that may well prove to be very popular with both College & Community-Theatres!


Sarah Rasmussen staged.



Looking for Love, Looking for a Father: Where€s Our Hero Dad€


Here€s another Heartbreaker, related to Eat Your Heart Out.


Laura Jacqmin imagines three Dads, with only Partial-Custody of their Kids.


There are also Three-Women [all played by Kate Arrington] in this short-take on Fathers, Flirting, & Failure


Once again, Sarah Rasmussen staged.



Playing Video-Games in 3-D On-Stage: Dragons, Dungeons, & Stuff!


Cell-Phones are beyond my limited Technical-Abilities, so I have never been Tempted-to-Text. Or to play Video-Games like Dungeons & Dragons.


So, I have to imagine what it must feel like to play this game Live in 3-D


In Kyle John Schmidt€s The Dungeons & The Dragons, we actually have a Boy-Player sprawled in a kind of Throne, making Jean Verlaine, Marlin Bricks, & Felicity Hydrangea Karmikal do His Bidding.


Well, you really had-to-be-there


KJ Sanchez directed.



The Hour of Feeling Feels Painful & Strange: Uprooted from Damascus-Gate To Lecture in London!


Guess What!


Not all Palestinian-Arab-Natives of Old-Jerusalem have welcomed the State-of-Israel on their Doorsteps


In Mona Monsour€s troubling drama, The Hour of Feeling, there is no Right-of-Return.


Adham€s Mother, Beder [an inflexible Judith Delgado] has sacrificed & sacrificed so that Adham [Haddi

Tabbal] could study in Cairo, at Al-Hazar-University.


But he has Bigger-Horizons in-view: he€s off to London, to lecture on Wordsworth€s Tintern-Abbey at University-College.


This is a long-way-off from Old-Jerusalem, the Damascus-Gate, & the nearby Palestinian-Village which the Israelis have virtually pillaged.


When the 1967 War€also known as the Six-Days-War or "The Setback€€breaks out, his Mother begs him to return. His new wife, Abir [Rasha Zamamiri], a forward-looking Arab, demands that he return home with her.


Is Tintern-Abbey more real to him than their old Village of Beit Hanina


The admirable Mark Wing-Davey directed.   




This Month€s Rational-Ratings€


Lisa Kron€s THE VERI**ON PLAY  [★★]


Lucas Hnath€s DEATH TAX  [★★★]


Idris Goodwin€s HOW WE GOT ON  [★★★]


Courtney Baron€s EAT YOUR HEART OUT  [★★★★★]




Nicholas C. Pappas€ THE BALLAD OF 423 & 434  [★★★★]


Laura Jacqmin€s HERO DAD  [★★★★]


Kyle John Schmidt€s THE DUNGEONS & THE DRAGONS  [★★★]

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