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Humana Festival '96: The Complete Plays

Humana Festival '96: The Complete Plays
Your Price: $21.95 CDN
Author: Michael Bigelow Dixon and Liz Engleman (Editors)
Foreword by: Jon Jory
Publisher: Smith & Kraus
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 356
Pub. Date: 1996
ISBN-10: 1575250330
ISBN-13: 9781575250335

Humana Festival 1996: The Complete Plays showcases plays selected from the 20th 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. Also includes a chronological history of the festival by Festival Coordinator Joel A. Smith.

The Batting Cage by Joan Ackermann. Two sisters – thrown together in a Holiday Inn in Florida on a mission to scatter the ashes of their third sibling – find themselves in a last ditch effort to connect to the human race…and each other. (Cast: 3 female, 1 male)

Going, Going, Gone by Anne Bogart. Mixes the language of quantum physics with some dangerous cocktail party liaisons, as two couples spend an evening together. The four characters suggest those from Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? fused to high-voltage dialogue about mass and energy, particles and waves, neutrinos and curved space. (Cast: 2 female, 2 male)

Contract with Jackie by Jimmy Breslin. Lampoons Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich who enters a hospital room and offers his post operative wife the sort of contract that his party offered the American people. Based on the true story behind the most infamous bedside encounter in the annals of contemporary American political life. (Cast: 1 female, 1 male)

Flesh and Blood by Elizabeth Dewberry. When Crystal commits the social indiscretion of the year, her astounded Southern clan can't figure out why – or can they? Unanswered questions abound in this comedy macabre, as sibling passions get channeled into culinary misadventure. The disclosure of family lies brings this comedic-drama to a shattering conclusion as it poses painful questions about what family values are, what the value of family is, and how history repeats itself from generation to generation. (Cast: 3 female, 1 male)

Trying to Find Chinatown by David Henry Hwang. Concerns two men in New York, one trying to investigate his Asian-American heritage, the other trying to shake free. A rare gem of a short play. (Cast: 2 male)

Reverse Transcription by Tony Kushner. Six playwrights come together to bury their contemporary and friend, Ding. They discuss and brood on their lives, writings, and loves. (Cast: 2 female, 4 male)

What I Meant Was by Craig Lucas. In 1968 a family sits down to a seemingly everyday meal, but the conversation that unfolds exposes all the subtext of their family drama. The play illustrates how honesty and forgiveness go hand in hand. (Cast: 2 female, 2 male)

Jack and Jill by Jane Martin. While most romances focus on falling in love with that special someone, Jack and Jill explores what happens after two people find the right fit. From an awkward courtship to marital bliss and beyond, this two-hander playfully portrays the hard work of love that requires balancing intimacy with commitment, self discovery, and personal change. (Cast: 1 female, 1 male)

Chilean Holiday by Guillermo Reyes. The political comedy takes place on the second anniversary of Gen. Augusto Pinochet's bloody right-wing military coup d'etat in Santiago, Chile that deposed President Salvador Allende, beginning Pinochet's reign of terror as Chile's dictator. This occasion serves as a backdrop for several people celebrating a birthday and the romance of two cynics not willing to risk much for love.

Missing Marisa and Kissing Christine by John Patrick Shanley. Two entertaining one-act comedies billed together as "Missing/Kissing." In Missing Marisa, two men wrangle over the memory of a woman they've loved and lost (Cast: 2 male); in Kissing Christine, two bruised souls connect on a blind date (Cast: 2 female, 1 male).

One Flea Spare by Naomi Wallace. In plague ravaged 17th century London, a wealthy couple is quarantined in their home with a mysteriously intuitive young girl and a rough-spoken sailor. Confined in such close quarters for 28 days, the central conflict is one of class and bodies. Who is master and who is servant when social barriers crumble? Which bodies are in danger? Who desires who? Winner of an Obie Award for Best Play and the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. (Cast: 2 female, 3 male)

About the Editor:

Michael Bigelow Dixon is an American playwright, director, and retired professor of theatre. For 17 years, he supervised the reading and selection of plays for the annual Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville.

Amy Wegener is the literary director at Actors Theatre of Louisville, where she heads the literary department and coordinates the reading and selection process for the Humana Festival.