Neill Robertson, Erica McClure & Cara Hicks in last season’s “Auctioning the Ainsleys.”
Photo-Theatre [502]


By Keith Waits

Entire contents copyright © 2014 by Keith Waits. All rights reserved.

Friday, March 7 at The Baron’s Theatre, Theatre [502] presented the final chapter, if not the full resolution of The Stranger and Ludlow Quinn (review to follow soon), but one of Louisville’s best local producing theatre companies managed to upstage itself by also announcing the line-up for their 4th season, set to begin in June.

Perhaps the most anticipated show in the line-up will be Anne Washburn’s, Mr. Burns, a post-electric play. It caused a sensation in the first two productions, at Woolly Mammoth Theatre in Washington and at Playwright’s Horizon in NYCF, where Ben Brantley of the New York Times described it as a play that will, “…leave you dizzy with the scope and dazzle of its ideas.” The 3-act structure charts the aftermath of a mysterious cataclysmic event over a total of 75 years and is noted for its use of characters and plotlines from The Simpsons. Mr. Burns, a post-electric play will be mounted at Clifton Center in February 2015.

But the season begins with The 13th of Paris by Mat Smart at The MeX Theatre this coming June. Smart is the author of the inaugural Theatre [502] production, The Debate Over Courtney O’ Connell of Nebraska, produced in several local pubs. The 13th of Paris follows a character named Vincent, who seeks, “…to unlock the beauty and mystery of love” by visiting his grandparents’ apartment in Paris.

Red Speedo, by Louisville favorite Lucas Hnath, will be presented at The Baron’s Theatre in September. Hnath’s newest play, The Christians, just opened in this year’s Humana Festival, just the latest of several Actors Theatre commissions that have made his work very familiar to Louisville audiences. Red Speedo examines obsessive competitiveness in swimming and the lure of performance enhancing drugs.

The success of The Stranger and Ludlow Quinn, the monthly-installment serial play by Diana Grisanti and Steve Moulds will ensure a second season of Small Batch Series:

Theatrical Experiments and Experiences that won’t stray too far from the themes of their first series. Ludlow Quinn Presents: Untold Stories of Baron’s Theatre will deliver a series of new works by Grisanti and Moulds as well as other playwrights and will again occupy First Friday Trolley Hops in the Main Street venue beginning in June.

Finally, Theatre [502] will participate for the 3rd year in the SLANT Culture Theatre Festival by staging Mike Bartlett’s Bull, a tight one-act play about conflict in a corporate office that is seen as something of a companion piece to the author’s previous play, Cock.

While we have come to expect quality from this company, this is a particularly promising line up of challenging material by playwrights who are among the most talked about in American theatre. Add the fact that the Small Batch Series will up the ante on locally sourced writing, and we have much to look forward to in Theatre [502]’s future.