Christina Acosta & Ken Robinson
Still Ready: Originals
created and performed by Christina Acosta Robinson and Ken Robinson
directed by Robert Barry Fleming
commissioned by Actors Theatre of Louisville
A review by Keith Waits
Entire contents are copyright © 2021 by Keith Waits. All rights reserved.
In regards to the entire, vast history of the Humana Festival of New American Plays, Still Ready stands distinctly apart. First, it is a wholly individual work that could not be produced again except by its creators; an intimate yet performative dual autobiographical work that is as much cabaret as scripted theatre, but all love story.
Christina Acosta Robinson and Ken Robinson are a married couple and multiple threats talent-wise. You may have seen them play the Montagues in the recent Romeo & Juliet Louisville 2020, but here they spotlight Ken’s talent as a composer of lush pop love songs who can render them in a heartbreaking tenor voice, and Christina’s ferocious embrace of identity through her spoken word poetry and paintings.
The themes of love, marriage, and family are alternately expressed in songs and poetry. Both Ken and Christina are photographed mostly in medium close-ups, but they have the skills and charisma to hold the frame. As sweet and soulful as Ken sings, Christina has the edge here, I think, as her poems are just confessional enough to dig deeper in exploring personal character and history. The Dominican-American actor slips in and out of a “Latina” accent as smooth as silk but gives her narrative bite with detailed memories and cogent social awareness. It is a nice dash of the bitters to counterbalance the overwhelmingly upbeat flavor of the show.
The virtual design is spare for Ken’s solo segments, but Christina employs digital backgrounds taken from her own paintings. Although much of her work is representational, the projections are enlarged enough that they are here mostly abstract, primarily ribbons of color but eventually representational images are used more directly that seem to be descendants of Pop Art.
Even with the passion and soaring talent of the delivery, Still Ready: Originals is a minor effort as Humana Festival productions go; bracingly intimate and honest but neither innovative nor revelatory. Or perhaps spending just a little less than an hour absorbing human energy, talent, and passion in such an entertaining package is a revolutionary act?
Still Ready: Originals
Part of the 2021 Humana Festival of New American Plays
Available to stream starting May 21, 2021
Tickets start at $15 at ActorsTheatre.org
Actors Theatre of Louisville
316 West Main Street
Louisville, Kentucky 40202
Keith Waits is a native of Louisville who works at Louisville Visual Art during the days, including being the host of LVA’s Artebella On The Radio on WXOX 97.1 FM / ARTxFM.com, but spends most of his evenings indulging his taste for theatre, music, and visual arts. His work has appeared in LEO Weekly, Pure Uncut Candy, TheatreLouisville, and Louisville Mojo. He is now Managing Editor for Arts-Louisville.com.