What The Hell is a Dramaturg?

An attempt to squeeze the job description into one sentence, or one tweet – with some associated questions about why it’s not dramaturge.

HumanaFest in Six Words

Our colleague Lou Harry is one heckuva wordsmith — and he’s always up for a creative challenge.  In that spirit, I asked him to write six-word reviews for each show in the festival.  Here’s what he came up with:          O Guru Guru Guru…          Twisted life straightened via […]

Truth In Movement

Martha Graham said, “movement never lies.” This is true not just in dance, but for theatre. On the stage, words can be telling you one thing and the body quite another and – from my perspective as a dance critic – a good actor will reveal more truth physically than aurally. I find myself going […]

Different Angle, Different Play: Cry Old Kingdom‘s mysterious McGuffin

One idea that Center Stage artistic director Kwame Kwei-Armah returned to repeatedly in the panel of Humana Festival play directors he moderated on Friday afternoon is that in the theater, a director’s work is often invisible. He’s right: The image in the collective imagination of a filmmaker peering through a lens slung around his neck […]

New Play Awards: Lumps-In-Throats

Four playwrights won awards Saturday night in Louisville, and it’s a big deal. Playwrights are the heart of the Humana Festival. Recognition by the American Theatre Critics Association is a big boost. And the checks that come with these awards aren’t insignificant either. Robert Schenkkan won ATCA’s top award – the Harold and Mimi Steinberg/ATCA […]

Learning to Fly

March Madness has double meaning. Sure, Kentucky is basketball country, but it’s also home to one of the best regional theatres in the country. Right now, trucks are tearing through the city honking in celebration of the Cards going to the Final Four, and the Humana Festival is throwing its wrap party. Toss up on […]

Words as Music: Sleep Rock Thy Brain and the haste of old age

Sleep Rock Thy Brain, the Humana Festival’s arresting trio of sleep-disorder themed one-act plays using stage flight effects — yep, another entry in that hoary old genre!  — was commissioned for the Actors Theatre of Louisville’s 2012-3 Acting Apprentice Company.  No one in the large cast looks a minute older than maybe 25 , though […]

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, […]

“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. […]

Backstage Quits Reviews: Some Reviews Of This Announcement

The art of theatre criticism suffered another blow this week when the trade publication Backstage announced it was getting out of the theatre criticism business. [View the story “Backstage Ends All Reviews” on Storify]

Congratulations Nate Pederson

Nate Pederson has won the drawing for a trip to Indianapolis. The drawing was made Friday night at 11 PM from entries submitted at the evening performance of “Appropriate” and picked by Courier-Journal arts critic Elizabeth Kramer. Mr. Pederson gets an Indianapolis Family Fun Adventure for 2 adults and 2 children, a value-packed package sponsored by […]

“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 […]

First Look: 6-Word Summaries of Appropriate

Family reunions aren’t really that fraught… are they? We asked the audience at tonight’s performance of Appropriate to sum up the play in 6 words.  Then you posted those snapshots on the lobby wall along a kind of spectrum: from “Like My Family” to “Not Like My Family.” We’ll choose a winner tomorrow. Meantime, here’s […]

Prize! You Can Win!

The Courier-Journal is offering the opportunity to win a prize at tonight’s performance of Appropriate. The contest invites participants to summarize the play in six words by writing that summary on a Post-It note at the end of the performance. More details in Elizabeth Kramer’s Courier-Journal blog.

Live blog of #NewPlay Directors in Conversation

Charting the Course; New Play Directions in Conversation

Debate: Should critics even be allowed into a new play festival?

Should a new play festival be a nurturing place for playwrights, free of the potentially debilitating glare of outside critics? Or is it beneficial to have scribes chiming in on what they see on stage? Is there a different responsibility for critics of premiere works or should they be held up to the same kind […]

A Web of Tale-Spinning

The plays of Humana 37 are a diverse lot, admirably so. But it’s not that hard to pick out a prevailing theme: myths and legends. From the grounded yet magical odyssey of Gnit to the generations-old family secrets and cultural traditions of Appropriate to the spiritual storytelling of O Guru Guru Guru to the indoctrinations […]

A Few Hundred Other Things you Could Call a Theater Restaurant

The downstairs eatery at Actors Theatre of Louisville is under new management and has been renamed Milkwood, a title reminiscent of a Dylan Thomas play. (It’s only a matter of time before someone uses the phrase “undercooked Milkwood” in a review.) The name of the previous restaurant in the space was Intermezzo, which is the […]