Friday, March 5, 2010

Humana Festival So Far

I'm a theater fan, but certainly not an expert. If you want a real "review" of the Humana shows, check out Erin Keene's great articles in the C-J. But I've been lucky enough to see three Humana Festival plays in the past week, and as always my general response has been: it's never a waste of time or money to see a play at Actors.

SIRENS is a charming midlife marriage crisis by Deborah Zoe Laufer, directed by Casey Stangl. Empty-nesters Sam and Rose Adelle Abrams have lost that lovin' feelin'. Sam, a one-hit wonder songwriter, has found solace in "innocently" meeting younger women that he meets playing Facebook scrabble for coffee. Rose Adelle plans an anniversary cruise to the Mediterranean. A siren, played by the unsettlingly Drew Barrymore-esque Lindsey Wochley, tempts him. Oddball comedy ensues. All of the characters are well-acted. Brian Russell is so charming as Sam that I kind of had a crush on him by the end of the play, even though his character was a cad. SIRENS is fun and funny and is a good play for all audiences.

While I love a good narrative play, like SIRENS, plays like FISSURES (lost and found) are why I treasure Actors and the Humana Festival in particular. Six playwrights came together to create this sometimes funny, sometimes devastating exploration of the mutability of memory. I'm still talking and thinking about this play a week later. The four actors (actually five-- one of the directors makes an appearance at the end) provided stunning performances. More impressive than their delivery and characterization was their physicality-- the smallest gestures rang out loud with meaning. So far this is the play that is NOT to be missed.

Finally, last night we caught GROUND, by Lisa Dillman, directed by Marc Masterson. The staging is beautiful, but at 2.5 hours the play packs little punch for the time investment. I'll be interested to read "professional" reviews of this play, but neither I nor my companion were particularly impressed. Other media (novels, movies, tv, etc) have done the Borderlands thing more effectively and more thoroughly. I'll leave it at that.

Still and all, rock on Humana Festival! I'm seeing PHOENIX later this weekend and HEIST next week. In other theater news, tonight is WHEN IN DISGRACE... at Walden Theater, tomorrow is LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS (one of the few musicals I genuinely like) at the Louisville Collegiate School. By the end of March, I'll have no excuse to not be fluent in theater-ese.

Happy Friday!


J. J. said...

Great review. Might be just what I needed to finally get out and see a play in Lou after living here for 6 months!

SupportTheArts said...

J.J. you might want to check out Actor's new "locals pass." 4 plays for $40. A good deal!