I love plays, but I rarely ever go to them.
Growing up, my grandparents constantly had tickets to plays being put on in Louisville. I went to a play with them every few months or so, and I have such fond memories of watching a story come to life. Now though, for whatever reason, I don’t go to many plays. I just typically end up going to see a movie, or going to some other event. However I’ve always loved seeing Dracula and A Christmas Carol at Actors Theatre yearly, there’s just something extra special and magical about watching a story being played out live. So when I got the opportunity to attend The New Plays Project there, I jumped on it.
The New Plays Project is a series of three brand new plays presented over a span of about two hours. While I wasn’t completely sure what to expect going in that evening, I left feeling thoroughly entertained, and feeling like I had a lot to digest and think about after what I saw.
The first play, Tell The Truth, was as funny and light-hearted as it was mysterious and thought-provoking. Though it’s never explicitly stated when the play takes place, I thoroughly appreciated the full-on 90s style that the characters were rocking.
In Tell The Truth, a pair of twin sisters move to their mom’s hometown their senior year of high school. In this small town, the biggest event of the year is “The Liar’s Contest”. This play was a unique take on the classic motif that you never truly know what other people are going through.
The second play, Louisville // Kentucky // USA, was about (you guessed it) Louisville, in a dystopian, but not so distant future in which the U.S. becomes so divided it breaks into two nations, and Louisville becomes part of a different country than the rest of Kentucky. As a Louisvillian, this was what I went in most excited to see, but it was definitely a heavier subject matter than its counterparts. It tackled issues of consent, homophobia, intolerance, and marital issues within the span of around 30 minutes. Despite its heaviness, I did appreciate the name dropping of Louisville places like Mag Bar.
The third play, The Sensational also tackled heavy issues such as the Me Too movement and the role of the media, but the witty banter of the high-school newspaper crew the play focuses on kept it feeling light and maintained a steady stream of laughter from the audience.
All three plays were similar in that they really thought “outside the box” when it came to the use of props. From a long rope, to rolling chairs, to a glowing orb, each play encouraged the audience to use their imagination through the unique use of props. While this was a little bit more conceptual than what I was used to, I appreciate the creative thinking that went into each one.
All in all, it was exciting and inspiring to experience new, fresh work being performed, and I was very impressed with the actors of the Professional Training Company, a company of 39 members that fully focuses on new works and up-and-coming artists. I was also inspired to start going to more plays again. If you don’t consider yourself a “play person”, I encourage you to look up plays going on around you and check one out, you may just be pleasantly surprised, and maybe even inspired with new ideas and ways of thinking about the world.