The iPhone as Chorus

The 13 year old is sitting on the couch when she pulls out her iphone to post to instagram a photo of a lynching: the woman next to me in the audience gasps. We’re watching Branden Jacobs-Jenkins play “Appropriate.” It’s not just her. You can feel the audience shudder with recognition. In that moment suddenly […]

Ticket Envelope

That’s my ticket envelope with a color coded, visually legible, dare I say useful, schedule of my plays. The rest of the American Theater could learn a thing or two from Actor’s Theatre of Louisville. For “Industry Weekend” guests are picked up at the airport, bussed to a donor’s house for a cocktail party, and […]

Pre-Curtain Revelation

It’s one of those things that, once you see it, you go: of course! Let the young actor, full of hope and aspiration, welcome the audience and thank the funder. I know it’s a Humana tradition to have the acting interns do the pre-show speech. There shouldn’t be anything revelatory, at least to theater folks, […]

Portrait of an Artist: New Meaning At HumanaFest

  Because the Humana Festival is perched between two worlds, one of process and the other of product, it provides a unique vantage on the American theater.  And this slate of plays, the first chosen by the new artistic director, Les Waters, provides a glimpse into the state of Actors Theatre of Louisville. What do […]

“When I get a ‘pop-up’ … I just want it to go away!”

Part of the joy of a festival is the seat chatter. Being in the South with a lanyard around your neck marking you as one of the theater tribe, avoiding preshow conversation is impossible. Many questions about “what is this Engine31?”. Last night before “Appropriate,” my seat mate seemed particularly perplexed by a ‘pop-up’ newsroom. […]

“What is a New Play?”

Is it a new story? Is it something that launches a writer? Is it something that furthers the artform? It’s hard to walk out of Branden Jacobs-Jenkins ‘new play’ “Appropriate” without these questions swirling. Let me get this out of the way, this is a young playwright with a gift for ensemble writing and a […]