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Thomas Merton, who is the subject of Chuck Mee's new play "The Glory of the World"
Thomas Merton, who is the subject of Chuck Mee's new play "The Glory of the World"

Humana Fest's 2015 Lineup: Mee on Merton, Bluegrass, Pig Iron and More

Humana’s next season brings in new voices and a few returning favorites. New and notable this time: a slightly more pronounced Kentucky twang.

LOUISVILLE, KY.: Six world premieres, including two group-created works and two with a strong Kentucky flavor, have been announced for the 39th Humana Festival of New American Plays, which will run March 4–April 12, 2015 at the Actors Theatre of Louisville.

Three individual playwrights will be making their Humana debut—Jen Silverman, with The Roommate; Erin Courtney, with I Will Be Gone; and Colman Domingo, with Dot—as will the Philadelphia collective Pig Iron Theatre Company, whose new I Promised Myself to Live Faster is co-written with playwright Gregory S. Moss. Returning to Humana for the sixth time is Charles Mee, with The Glory of the World. And three of the quartet of writers behind the bluegrass musical That High Lonesome Sound—Jeff Augustin, Diana Grisanti and Cory Hinkle—have previous Humana credits, with the fourth writer, Charise Castro Smith, making her debut.

In addition, a bill of three 10-minute plays will also premiere as part of the scheduled lineup. The plays and playwrights will be announced in January.

“We are delighted to be celebrating the 39th Humana Festival with an exciting and aesthetically diverse range of new work,” said Les Waters, Actors Theatre’s artistic director, in a statement. “New work is in Actors Theatre’s DNA, and we champion writers by providing the resources, space and support necessary for them to fully realize their visions.”

The plays will premiere in rotating repertory in three theatres located in Actors Theatre’s downtown Louisville complex—the 633-seat Pamela Brown Auditorium, 318-seat Bingham Theatre and 159-seat Victor Jory Theatre. Weekend packages and single tickets for the 2015 Humana Festival of New American Plays are on sale to the public beginning Nov. 12.

More about the individual plays:

In Silverman’s The Roommate (March 4–April 12), recent divorcee Sharon finds a sensible roommate to share an old house in Iowa, but she quickly learns that Robyn, a vegan from the Bronx, couldn’t be more different from the ladies in her book club. Mike Donahue directs.

In Domingo’s Dot (March 10—April 12), the Shealy family—Dotty and her three middle-aged children—gather for the holidays, but they have more on their mind than finding a suitable blue spruce for the living room. Meredith McDonough directs.

Courtney’s I Will Be Gone (March 13–April 12) tells of 17-year-old Penelope, who goes to live with her Aunt Josephine in a small town in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains, where everyone seems haunted by something or someone, and no one knows how to behave. Directed by Kip Fagan.

Mee’s The Glory of the World (March 20–April 12) considers the legacy of Thomas Merton, the Kentucky-based Trappist monk, writer and social activist—or pacifist, Buddhist, Catholic, Communist and more, depending on who you ask. ATL head Les Waters will direct.

Pig Iron’s and Moss’s I Promised Myself to Live Faster (March 27–April 12) promises a Charles Ludlam-esque sci-fi fantasia about a gaggle of intergalactic nuns, the Holy Gay Flame, and an androgynous spirit guide, Ah-Ni. Dan Rothenberg directs.

And That High Lonesome Sound (March 27–April 12), performed by ATL’s acting apprentice company, is described as “a lively theatrical album of scenes” by its four writers about the history and legacy of bluegrass, from Scottish ballads to African-American work songs, from Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys to the O Brother, Where Art Thou?. Pirronne Yousefzadeh directs.

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