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Humana Festival 1993: The Complete Plays

Humana Festival 1993: The Complete Plays
Your Price: $21.95 CDN
Author: Marisa Smith (editor)
Publisher: Smith & Kraus
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 247
Pub. Date: 1993
ISBN-10: 1880399377
ISBN-13: 9781880399378

About the Book:

Humana Festival 1993: The Complete Plays showcases plays selected from the 17th annual cycle of world premieres, featuring a remarkable array of work by some of the most exciting voices in the American theatre.

The Actors Theatre of Louisville (ATL) – the Tony Award-winning state theatre of Kentucky – in 1976 produced two new works at its first Humana Festival – as it is known because of its corporate sponsorship. One was D.L. Coburn's The Gin Game, which won a Pulitzer Prize in 1978 and helped launch what became the nation's most respected New American Play festival. For six weeks every spring, Louisville exerts a gravitational pull on producers and theatre lovers from around the country, who travel from far and wide for the adventure of seeing a diverse slate of fully-produced new plays. Many Humana Festival plays have gone on to garner awards and subsequent productions, making a sustained impact on the international dramatic repertoire.

This anthology makes the genius of American playwrights available to an even wider audience, allowing readers from around the world to experience the collision of perspectives, styles and stories that makes the festival such an invigorating celebration of the art form.

Stanton's Garage is a full-length comedy by Joan Ackermann. A poignant comedy featuring an odd assortment of troubled and obsessive people. In a small-town garage miles from anywhere, two cars, both of which were en route to a wedding, await repairs. The brilliant mechanic may fix them instantly - or not. The breakdown leads to the opportunity to think through the meaning of one's life and actions. One is Ron's, the ex-husband of the bride to be, a man who missed his divorce and certainly doesn't want to miss his wife's wedding. Think of "Taxi" set in the South. (Cast: 4 female, 4 male)
Deadly Virtues by Brian Jucha. An exploration of virtue and sin. The Seven Deadly Sins threaten damnation. The seven Moral Virtues promise transcendence. (Cast: 2 female, 3 male)
Shooting Simone by Lynn Kaufman. A literate, witty take on the life of Simone de Beauvoir, mother of feminism, and her unconventional, nearly life-long relationship with philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre, father of Existentialism and a young idealist filmmaker. (Cast: 2 female, 1 male)
The Ice Fishing Play is a comedy by Kevin Kling. In an ice fishing house on a frozen lake in northern Minnesota, Ron, an ice fisherman extraordinaire, struggles to catch "the big one" only "the big one" doesn't just mean the biggest fish in the lake. A funny, vibrant exploration of the struggle to connect in a world of blizzards, frozen minnows, memories and miracles. (Cast: 1 female, 6 male)
What We Do With It is a ten-minute drama by Bruce MacDonald. Takes up the problem of incest. A father and grown daughter who have not spoken for several years are finally coming out to discuss some long buried secrets in a psychiatrist's office. John denies his crime and claims that Cheryl is mentally ill, but Cheryl is only beginning t remember what life was like with her father. (Cast: 1 female, 1 male)
Keely and Du by Jane Martin. Somewhere, a group is holding a young woman in a locked room against her will. They aren't going to hurt her. They don't want any ransom. They just want to change her mind about her unwanted pregnancy. As thought provoking as it is controversial, Keely and Du is about the humanity that underscores our convictions and the prices we pay for them. (Cast: 1 female, 6 male)
Poof! is a ten-minute drama by Lynn Nottage. The laws of the universe tumble when a meek woman finally speaks up in this 10-minute play concerned with wife-battering. When a housewife comes to the end of her rope and damns her abusive husband to hell, she doesn't expect him to spontaneously combust. Now she has a pile of ashes on the floor, and a life to reclaim. Her first play, Poof! was a co-winner of ATL's 1992 National Ten-Minute Play Contest. (Cast: 2 female)
Tape is a 10-minute dark comedy by Jose Rivera. This play places an unfortunate man in an antechamber of the afterlife. There he is forced to listen to a tape of all the lies – to others and to himself – that he ever told throughout his life. Tape assails the viewer's conscience in a single short play. (2 female or male)
Watermelon Rinds is a one-act comedic drama by Regina Taylor. What happens to a dream deferred? Some pretty wild things, suggests this satire about the reunion of a black family on the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday. Talk of the past heats up until Mama's repast explodes – literally! And all the while a young girl watches, struggling to understand a society that demands sacrifice but offers only promises in return. (Cast: 5 female, 3 male)

What people say:

"Louisville's 17th Humana Festival of New American Plays continues to develop a remarkable amount of significant work. The 1993 lineup proved unusually popular with both Louisville's sophisticated theater professionals and general audiences. Half of the 10 premieres were written by women. Three plays had all-black casts. Seven were politically controversial issue-plays." — Los Angeles Times

"Here is a collection of nine thought-provoking contemporary dramas by American playwrights, first performed at the 17th Annual Humana Festival by the Actors Theatre of Louisville this past spring. Included are five full-length plays, a one-act play, and three ten-minute dramas. Subject matter covers such issues as abortion, suicide, and child abuse. Watermelon Rinds by Regina Taylor, the Emmy Award-winning performer in TV's I'll Fly Away, is an absurdist's view of African American family politics. Joan Ackermann's Stanton's Garage takes place in rural Missouri and examines the structure of human relationships in juxtaposition to auto mechanics. A worthwhile addition to modern drama collections." — Library Journal

"These works, all presented at the Humana Festival, are written by a bolder generation of playwrights, one which has been turning steadily away from realistic drama and toward the poetry of a less bounded theater. This is not to say, however, that they avoid contemporary issues. In a very funny and provocative piece by Lynn Nottage, a woman finds herself addressing a pile of ashes after raising her voice to an abusive husband – the shock of the incident has caused him to spontaneously combust. Regina Taylor takes the reader to the gathering of a black family whose unresolved feelings toward their heritage become apparent. One sister, voted Black Woman of the Year, has bleached her skin and altered her face to such an extent that her own father doesn't recognize her. People examine their own lives in this collection as well. In Jose Rivera's short, stark play, one man is sentenced to an eternity of listening to the tapes of every lie he ever told. These are plays that ask questions – about humanity, about the theater – and while the answers are not always clear, the questions are almost certainly worth asking." — Publishers Weekly

"Smith has collected a sometimes uneven but often interesting group of shorter plays from the seventeenth annual Humana Festival of New American Plays. The best of these usually deal with some politically charged issue or social concern (e.g., abortion, child abuse, and battered wives), transforming it from an evening news story into a real concern of the human heart. What We Do with It explores the lingering effects of sexual abuse on a father, the abuser, and his daughter, the victim; Keely and Du personalizes the abortion debate in a meaningful way. Poof! portrays an abusive husband who bursts spontaneously into flames, much to the confusion and relief of his wife – though the reader (or playgoer) will be left with the distinct feeling that the abuse may go to a different level now that the husband is gone. ...this is an engaging glimpse of today's playwrights and the contemporary human landscape." — Booklist

About the Editor:

Marisa Smith has worked in the theatre as an actress, producer, playwright, and theater book publisher. She is s a graduate of Wesleyan University.