Every other week, the editors of American Theatre curate a free-ranging discussion about the lively arts in our Offscript podcast.
This week, editors Rob Weinert-Kendt, Suzy Evans, and Russell Dembin discuss new plays. Specifically, Russ and Suzy both attended the 40th annual Humana Festival of New American Plays at Kentucky’s Actors Theatre of Louisville; they report back on what was good, what was not, and what it was like seeing Kathleen Chalfant fly.
This week’s guest is Lue Morgan Douthit, interim director of literary development and dramaturgy and director of the controversial Play on! project from the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Play on! will be translating 39 Shakespeare plays into contemporary English, and Douthit explains why it’s a good idea and responds to the haters. Two AT pieces come up, OSF artistic director Bill Rauch’s essay about Play on! and John McWhorter’s 2010 editorial advocating for the translation of Shakespeare into more current language.
This week’s recommendations:
Speaking of Shakespeare, Brooklyn Academy of Music is presenting Richard II, Henry IV Parts I & II, and Henry V in rep through May 1.
Suzy also traveled to Chicago and can attest that Tracy Letts’s newest play, Mary Page Marlowe at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, is really good. Who knew the story of the ordinary life of an accountant in Ohio could be so riveting? The show runs through May 29.
And Russ says: If you love plays about strong women and the immigrant experience, check out Ironbound by Martyna Majok, a coproduction from Rattlestick Playwrights Theater and Women’s Project Theater. The show runs through April 24.