Monday, March 22, 2010

Humana Festival Wrap Up

I wish Humana Festival lasted all year. I'm so genuinely sad to see it wrap up. Back when I lived in New Orleans, I used to say that New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival was like my birthday, Christmas, and spring break all wrapped into one gorgeous event. And Humana doesn't quite tap that level of "whoopeee!" in my soul, but it comes as close as anything else in Louisville. If somehow there could be a divine convergence of Humana Festival, Idea Festival, and Waterfront Wednesdays...? Well, I might just hand Louisville JazzFest's place in my heart.

Still and all... awesome.

This past weekend, I hit THE CHERRY SISTERS REVISITED and METHOD GUN. And I loved them both. Loved them. Would see either one again, and will see CHERRY SISTERS again when Roommate comes back to town.

CHERRY SISTERS was not what I expected. Before I went, I kind of thought I understood the premise: a vaudeville act SO bad that sold-out crowds went to jeer and laugh. But the show was both funnier and sadder than I thought it would be. In my mind, Cassie Beck as Ella Cherry stole the show, on both ends of the emotional spectrum. If the entire show had centered on that character, I would have been utterly rapt. The first act of the show is phenomenal. The second act is a little heavier than I think it needed to be. The show runs through the beginning of April. Go see it. It's good.

METHOD GUN had been incredibly hyped to me beforehand, and I should always remember to tune that stuff out. Because METHOD GUN was fabulous, but didn't quite live up to the hype. I think if I'd seen it before I'd seen FISSURES, I would have been more blown away. But truly, in some ways the plays tread some of the same ground. But FISSURES goes deeper. METHOD GUN is an absurd semi-narrative story of a theater group abandoned by their esoteric founder. And let me tell you, the last five minutes of the show are sublime. The rest of the play has gorgeous, brilliant moments, but as my theatergoing companion said, at times it's a bit too "precious." A wee warning: Don't go see this play with your mama. A Facebook friend wrote on my wall: "I bet you'll never look at balloons the same way again... or hear 'Dancing in the Moonlight.'" Amen, sister.

Now that I've seen ALL of Humana's full-length plays, I'll render my verdict: FISSURES is unforgettable. One of the best things I've seen at Actors, period. Maybe the best.

And the snappy dialogue and palpable chemistry between the characters in PHOENIX is so wonderful that you'll never go on a mediocre first date and think "well, that was nice enough" again. That play has frigging ruined me for mediocre conversation. Weird, eh?

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