Experimentation versus Survival

  WHAT’S IN THIS VIDEO: The larger institutions are changing their ways. There was a perception of survival over evolution. But that’s changing. What are the new models. Non-profits struggle with giving subscribers new and familiar things. We’ve got to do more than just the familiar. There’s always a conflict there.

Is Theatre Falling Behind Other Narrative Media?

  WHAT’S IN THIS VIDEO: The economics of film has pushed a lot of people into TV. And show you’re thinking of, chances are pretty good that a playwright has been involved. There are significant differences between the forms. One of the downsides of theatre is that it goes away – even if everyone loved […]

Rise, Shine, Repeat: A Day in the Life of an Acting Apprentice

Sarah Grace Welbourn needs sleep. It’s 5 o’clock on the final Friday of Actors Theatre of Louisville’s Humana Festival of New American Plays. The acting apprentice is curled up in an office chair off a quiet stretch of Market Street. Her eyelids are half lowered and she blinks languidly, like a housecat. She’s been up […]

In Previews: ATL’s Apprentice Actors

  The Actors Theatre apprentice program is known nationally for its rigorous training and strong performances. This year it’s expressed in the sleep-themed triptych Sleep Rock Thy Brain. The Humana Festival marked the end of their training with a performance for 25 industry reps — casting directors and talent agents who may hire them soon. ATL […]

The Dramaturg’s Success

During the Humana Fest’s industry weekend – the final one – it’s not just normal audience members, critics, other actors, directors and agents in the audience. There are also dramaturgs and literary managers, those behind-the-scenes theatre people who, in certain companies, help set the seasons and within the seasons, help directors and actors know just […]

ATL’s Les Waters: To Hell with the Good Old Days

As a young director in London, Les Waters read about the plays coming out of Kentucky’s HumanaFest. A generation later he’s running it, along with Actors Theatre of Louisville. The festival made its name in the late 1970s with straight-up American realism and two of the most-produced works of the century: “The Gin Game” and […]

Still Waters: An Interview with Actors Theatre of Lousville Artistic Director Les Waters

Les Waters was named Artistic Director of Actors Theatre of Louisville in 2011. But the first full season that he has programmed for the theater — and that  means not just the Humana Festival but a seven-show September-to-February slate — ends April 7 with the close of the 2013 Humana Festival. His lineup for ATL’s […]

See Me After Class: Paula Vogel on Playwrights as Teachers

The weekend shouldn’t have to feel like school. But a Humana panel discussion Saturday  morning stayed safely within ivy towers, even though its most revered participant has taken her work to the streets. Paula Vogel was the key panelist in the “Playwright as Teacher and Student” discussion in the Actors’ Theatre of Louisville’s Pamela Brown […]

Weight of History: The Playwright Confronts

Waves whoosh in and out, and seabirds cry over the speakers. Sand piles up and spills over corners and floor the floor of the set. A young man looks around in terror as he collects branches to build a raft. Another, slightly older man watches from the shadows. We’re in Haiti during the regime of Papa […]

Influenced: Playwrights and directors recall the one who got them here

“I learned it by watching you!” a 1980s anti-drug PSA once accused. Why artists make the work they do is an existential query no amount of bloviation could ever fully answer — no tolerable amount of blovation, at any rate.  But recalling who inspired them to devote their lives to the often lonely, financially uncertain […]

Read The Stage: Going Forward

Peter Gnit: A whiny, dorky narcissist who somehow has women, from his long-suffering mother to the sweet Solvei, ruining their lives for him. Old story, right? Yes, really old story. Gnit (guh-NIT) is Henrik Ibsen’s Peer Gynt, which was in turn based on the fairy tale Per Gynt, altered and adapted, stripped of some of […]

Q&A with David J. Loehr of 2amt

David J. Loehr is a playwright, co-founder and artist in residence of Riverrun Theatre and the online theatre site 2amtheatre (full disclosure: 2amt is a site for which I have written several stories). We sat down for a short discussion over lunch at Louisville’s Hillbilly Tea. How long have you been coming to Humana? This is […]

Shopping for talent at HumanaFest

The new talent’s gotta come from somewhere. Among hundreds of visitors to this year’s HumanaFest is veteran New York talent agent Doug Kesten. He’s scouting the apprentice company, he says, “hopefully to help in getting their careers going.” We spoke on the trolley shuttle from Actors Theatre of Louisville to Lincoln Performing Arts School, the […]

Director: Why do audiences resist?

Why do audiences resist stories told unconventionally? During intermission of Friday night’s performance of Appropriate, HumanaFest guest director Lila Neugebauer (O Guru Guru Guru) offered her perspective on what the visual arts have done right–and what theatre artists can learn from it. WHAT’S IN THIS VIDEO: American theatre hasn’t done a great job in helping […]

What is Success for a New Play?

  WHAT’S IN THIS VIDEO: No one can take away a good review from a playwright. That’s success. Success is finding bigger audiences. Will anyone watch? How do I get my work seen by people who don’t live in my city? Having a production that’s good is a definition of success. Plays and playwrights need […]