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Humana Festival of New American Plays

Marc Masterson

Marc Masterson, artistic director of Actors Theatre of Louisville, visited Mixed Media to offer this preview of the 2003 Humana Festival of New American Plays, March 2 through April 13. This 27th annual edition features six full-length plays by newcomers to the festival.

Omnium-Gatherum, by Theresa Rebeck and Alexandra Gersten-Vassilaros, opens March 5 in the Bingham Theatre. In the aftermath of the 2001 attack on the World Trade Center, these two New York playwrights imagined a dinner party, perhaps taking place at the end of the world, in which a diverse group of opinionated guests converse about life in a dangerous post-9/11 world.

Marc describes the play as a drama with much humor, “very literate, very moving—a beautiful work with much to say.”

Slide Glide the Slippery Slope, by Kia Corthron, opens March 8 in the Bingham Theatre. The Mark Taper Forum of Los Angeles commissioned Corthron to write this play, but it will premiere at the Humana Festival. It’s the story of twins who are reunited after years apart. One lives on a farm and studies cloning; the other is escaping the city and mourning a daughter who has died in an accident. It’s a play where magical realism meets modern science, according to Marc.

The Faculty Room, by Bridget Carpenter, opens March 13 in the Pamela Brown Auditorium. Teachers will relate to this play set in the faculty lounge of a high school. This satirical tragicomedy involves an idealistic teacher, burned-out colleagues, and gun-packing students awaiting the Rapture. “It’s a scary world she’s describing,” Marc says.

The Lively Lad, by Quincy Long, opens March 20 in the Pamela Brown Auditorium. Long, a graduate of the Yale School of Drama who lives in New York, has written a comedy with snippets of piano music. A cast of 10 tells the story of a wealthy man who falls in love with a woman waging a campaign to halt a society fad that involves the procurement of eunuchs for rich debutantes. Marc describes the play as a silly, funny satire about how we treat service people.

The Second Death of Priscilla, by Russell Davis, opens March 25 in the Victor Jory Theatre. Davis, a Philadelphia playwright and juggler, sets this play in an imaginary universe where monsters are real. Marc, who will direct the play, calls it “a poem about a personality in danger of breaking up.”

Orange Lemon Egg Canary: A Trick in Four Parts, by Rinne Groff, opens April 1 in the Bingham Theatre. This play, named for a magic trick, is a mysterious love story that uses illusion, deception, and sleight-of-hand tricks as metaphors. Actors Theatre will cast a top-notch magician to play the lead, says Marc, whose own interest in magic makes this play exciting for him. “It’s an incredibly fun play,” he says.

Orange Lemon Egg Canary continues after the Humana Festival ends, running through May 18 as part of the Mainstage subscription series.

Program 520

A sneak peek at the 2003 Humana Festival of New American Plays in Louisville, prolific Kentucky author George Ella Lyon, and music by Soulgrass. (#520)

Program 538

A look at the 2003 Humana Festival of New American Plays in Louisville, prolific Kentucky author George Ella Lyon, and music by Soulgrass. (#538)


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