Mayor Greg Fisher began the conversation of how much Louisville could bring to the arts community. "Actors Theatre of Louisville sets a strong leadership tone," he said, "Louisville is not the biggest city in the world, but we should be the best at what we do." He pointed at the Humana Festival as a shining example. More that 30 different countries are normally represented by the audiences that come to Louisville every year, Mayor Fisher and Congressman Yarmuth both spoke on the opportunity the city had to show its value.
Most playwrights alluded to the lack of pretension that Louisville offers the festival and the greater theatrical world. Courtney Baron, author of the upcoming Eat Your Heart Out, spoke of the risks that the Humana Festival took by produce a fantastical play of hers years ago, and thanked the festival for helping her grow into writing this current show which she hopes could speak to everyone. How We Got On author, Idris Goodwin said, "The fact that it is in Louisville is very important to me." His play follows two Midwestern aspiring emcees in the late 80's as they try to find their sound, themselves, and an audience far away from the birthplace of hip hop. Goodwin commented how the Humana Festival reflects his personal experience and the play itself, delivering art to a place that isn't necessarily associated with it and still finding a home there. Both Baron and Goodwin told of the great service that Louisville brings to the theater world every year.
Another topic that kept arising was Louisville's burgeoning food scene. Multiple people referenced the recent Zagat guide that listed Louisville as one of the top 8 cities for food in the world. Oh Gastronomy! director Attaway talked about how delightful a time they had conceiving the multiple parts of the show by visiting "food locations around Louisville and then going to White Castle." And ending her speech thanking the Humana Festival for making her dreams come true The Hour of Feeling author, Mona Mansour, merely said, "Last thing I will say is that the food is very, very good."
Clearly, those responsible for putting on and promoting this year's festival do so with their whole hearts. The next month seems flush with activities that will give a great deal to this community, but also will let Louisville give a whole lot back.
Image: Courtesy Actors Theatre of Louisville