The ensemble in “a love song // a remix /”.
By Jackie Sibblies Drury, idris Goodwin, Basil Kreimendhl, Justin Kuritskes & Amelia Roper
Directed by Ian Frank
Review by Keith Waits
Entire contents copyright © 2014 by Keith Waits. All rights reserved.
If you are looking for a place to find a group of young actors ripe with talent and eager to make an impression, you need look no further than Remix 38. The Humana Festival always includes a showcase for the Acting Apprentice Company, and this year’s program of shorts is a satisfying cavalcade of inventive writing that provides the company ample opportunity to show what they are capable of.
The emphasis on a collective theme that has characterized this program in recent years is largely abandoned here in favor of plays inspired by the 38-year history of the Humana Festival. It opens with a declaration of intent in the form of Amelia Roper’s Every Show You’ve Ever Seen, in which the ensemble, speaking from the aisles before entering the stage, catalogs formula and clichés culled from the legacy of American playwriting.
Pieces that utilized the entire ensemble were some of the best. Idris Goodwin’s Is that what I look like? was a sharp and pointed examination of the actor’s struggle with identity and assumptions in casting that also spoke to real-world stereotypes reinforced by mass media, War of Attrition by Justin Kuritzkes neatly and succinctly pantomimes the folly of war in delightfully comic terms, and Amelia Roper’s hilarious a love song // a remix / skewers pretentious attitudes toward culture with aplomb.
The less successful Finger Play (not a real title) uses a gruesome device to enact several scenes of clever business, and the finale, and now I only dance at weddings, by Jackie Sibblies Drury, is fluidly staged and features a heartfelt central performance by Peregrine Heard.
It almost seems counter-intuitive to single out individuals in this show, yet Cindi Johnson also made a strong impression, as did Mirirai Sithole and David Jackson. Julia Bynum, Casey Worthington and Lauren LaRocca shine in If…Then…, by Justin Kuritzkes, even if the gimmick of naming Guantanamo detainees, however nobly intended, did drag the piece out longer than needed
This struck me as a particularly strong Apprentice Acting Company, and the edge and enthusiasm that comes from such a hungry bunch makes for a raucously entertaining evening.
Part of the 38th Annual Humana Festival of New American Plays
March 19 -April 6, 2014
Actors Theatre of Louisville
315 East Main Street
Louisville, KY 40202