Taking the Measure Of HumanaFest

  New plays. Easy to say. But what new plays? Why these new plays? How to do these new plays? And to what purpose these whats, whys and hows? There’s new work produced everyday. And there’s a boom in regional new play festivals. Having never been, I had always imagined the Humana Festival at the Actors Theatre of […]

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 […]

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 […]

Fifty Years and Counting: American Theater at a Tipping Point

As the Actors Theatre of Louisville approaches its 50th birthday next year, the theatre’s annual Humana Festival of New Plays wraps up its 37th season – a great run by most standards. The Humana Festival is the granddaddy of America’s new play showcases, and both the accomplishments and challenges of ATL are emblematic of America’s […]


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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. […]

Conflict Resolution: Directors on Directing

Drama comes from conflict. This is remedial stuff — Aristotelian — the process of witnessing characters hashing out their conflicting views leading to some larger insight. Among the issues discussed at the April 5 symposium with Humana Festival directors, moderated with jocularity and aplomb by Baltimore Center Stage’s artistic director, Kwame Kwei-Armah, was the agreement […]