WINTER GAMES, POOR SHEM & SOME PREPARED REMARKS Set for 38th Humana Festival of New American Plays

Actors Theatre of Louisville Artistic Director Les Waters and Managing Director Jennifer Bielstein have announced the three ten-minute plays chosen to premiere during the 38th Humana Festival of New American Plays (February 26 - April 6, 2014). This year's ten-minute plays are Winter Games by Rachel Bonds, Some Prepared Remarks (A History in Speech) by Jason Gray Platt and Poor Shem by Gregory Hischak.

Playwright Rachel Bonds was also named the winner of the 2013 Heideman Award for Winter Games. Bonds' play Five Mile Lake (which began as the short Winter Games) will receive its premiere at South Coast Repertory in April. Other plays include At The Old Place (Arden Theatre Company), Anniversary (Ensemble Studio Theatre), Michael & Edie, named a New York Times Critic's Pick in 2010, The Noise and Swimmers. Bonds' play Winter Games was originally produced by Actors Theatre's Apprentice/Intern Company in The Tens, an evening of ten-minute plays which ran at Actors Theatre January 11-13, 2014.

Jason Gray Platt will make his Humana Festival debut with his play Some Prepared Remarks (A History in Speech). His work includes Crown of Shadows (Round House Theatre), Skull (Less Three and Twenty) (Red Bull Theater) and A Frontier, As Told by the Frontier (Source Festival).

Gregory Hischak returns to the Humana Festival with his play Poor Shem. Hischak's previous work Hygiene premiered as part of the Festival in 2011. His other plays include The Center of Gravity, which premiered at Portland Stage and opens in April at the Cotuit Center for the Arts.

Actors Theatre's Artistic Director Les Waters and Associate Artistic Director Meredith McDonough will direct Some Prepared Remarks (A History in Speech) and Poor Shem, respectively. Former 2003-2004 Actors Theatre Acting Apprentice Pirronne Yousefzadeh, now a Brooklyn-based director, returns to Actors Theatre to direct Winter Games. Yousefzadeh previously directed Bonds' play during The Tens in January.

Each year Actors Theatre features an evening of ten-minute plays as part of the Humana Festival, culled from 500 submissions to the National Ten-Minute Play Contest. The plays join a lineup that includes six full-length world premieres and represents the work of sixteen writers, including two new works commissioned by Actors Theatre. The Ten-Minute Plays are produced in the Pamela Brown Auditorium during the final weekend of the Humana Festival of New American Plays, Saturday, April 5 at 9 p.m. and Sunday, April 6 at 4:30 p.m. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased by calling the Actors Theatre Box Office at 502-584-1205 or online at

In other literary news, Actors Theatre has awarded the Vaughn McBride Scholarship to Sam Weiner and Eric Werner. The award is given in honor of Vaughn McBride, a former Actors Theatre Resident Company Member and founder of Actors Theatre's Apprentice/Intern Company. It is presented annually to a literary intern, playwright or dramaturg. Weiner and Werner are currently Dramaturgy/Literary Management Interns at Actors Theatre.

Actors Theatre celebrates the 38th Humana Festival with its underwriter the Humana Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Humana, Inc. Additional support is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts and The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust.

The Ten-Minute Plays

Winter Games
by Rachel Bonds
directed by Pirronne Yousefzadeh

It's the dead of winter in this small Pennsylvania town, a morning like all the others: the stray cats roam, and Jamie cheerfully prepares to open the bakery. But Mary was up all night. And she already needs a break.

Rachel Bonds' plays include: Five Mile Lake (which began as the short Winter Games), soon to receive its world premiere at South Coast Repertory, directed by Daniella Topol; At The Old Place, developed during her Writers' Room residency at Arden Theatre Company, directed by Ed Sobel; Anniversary, produced in Ensemble Studio Theatre's Marathon of One-Act Plays and winner of the 2012 Samuel French Festival; Michael & Edie, named a New York Times Critics' Pick in 2010; The Noise, developed at New Georges and Ars Nova; and Swimmers, featured in New York Stage and Film's 2013 Powerhouse Reading Series and Roundabout Underground's Reading Series. She is currently working on commissions for Washington, D.C.'s Studio Theatre, Manhattan Theatre Club/Ars Nova, South Coast Repertory and Atlantic Theater Company. Bonds holds a B.A. from Brown University.

This play was originally developed at Ars Nova as part of Play Group's "The Urban Dictionary Plays."

Some Prepared Remarks
(A History in Speech)
by Jason Gray Platt
directed by Les Waters

Colored construction paper. Index cards. A Post-it note. Follow one speaker's life across the speeches, presentations and toasts recorded on these scraps of paper. Every year seems to go by a little faster, so we promise to keep things brief.

Jason Gray Platt's work includes Crown of Shadows (Round House Theatre), Skull (Less Three and Twenty) (Red Bull Theater), and A Frontier, As Told by the Frontier (Source Festival). His plays have been developed by The Playwrights Realm, Prelude NYC, Page 73, The MacDowell Colony and the Djerassi Resident Artists Program. He received a Helen Hayes nomination for The Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding New Play in 2013 and was the 2007 runner-up for the Princess Grace Award in playwriting. Originally from Arizona, Platt now lives in New York. He is a member of Woodshed Collective and holds a B.A. from Vassar and an M.F.A. from Columbia University.

Poor Shem
by Gregory Hischak
directed by Meredith McDonough

Of all the things you give in life, none is more precious than your labor. A tiny play about three characters and a photocopier.

Gregory Hischak's short plays Hygiene and Poor Shem have previously been produced as part of Actors Theatre's Apprentice/Intern Company's The Tens. Hygiene also appeared as part of the 2011 Humana Festival. His full-length play The Center of Gravity, winner of the 2009 Clauder Prize, premiered at Portland Stage Company in 2010 and is currently in production at the Cotuit Center for the Arts. His plays have also been staged by A Contemporary Theatre, City Theatre (Miami), Source Festival, Salem Theatre Company, Pan Theater, and the Boston Theater Marathon, among others. Hischak lives in Yarmouth, Mass., where he is the Assistant Director of the Edward Gorey House.

Poor Shem began as a spoken word piece for three voices, performed by Staggered Thirds (Anna Mockler, Doug Nufer and Gregory Hischak) in Seattle, WA. It was subsequently staged in the Boston Theater Marathon.

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