Playwrights from the South have always figured largely in the Actors Theatre of Louisville's contribution of new work to the repertoire of American dramatic literature. What better way to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the Humana New Festival of American Plays -- an event that has drawn upon the strengths of the South to garner international acclaim -- than to honor southern playwrights in a collection of works that have premiered at Actors Theatre of Louisville, most of which are previously unpublished. By Southern Playwrights makes available for the first time in print Marsha Norman's romantic comedy Loving Daniel Boone, novelist Harry Crews's only play, Blood Issue, and humorist Ray Blount Jr.'s ventures into one-act comedy, Five Ives Gets Named and That Dog Isn't Fifteen. Also included are novelist Elizabeth Dewberry's first play, Head On, Kentucky novelist and essayist Wendell Berry's The Cool of the Day, and Digging In, a remarkable array of Kentucky farm voices adapted for the stage by Julie Crutcher and Vaughn McBride. Southern playwriting is a distinctive voice in the American theater, a point eloquently made in the foreword by Jon Jory, producing director of Actors Theatre of Louisville since 1969. The literary works of the South, he writes, are dominated by "great language, family, strong women, religion, the land, and the past," all of which makes them wonderful for acting -- and for reading. Jory sees the key to the success of southern writing for the stage in this "speakability.... Actors love these plays because you can say them, and that, as they say, makes all the difference." This book is a rare assemblage of southern plays from the 1980s and 1990s by playwrights continuing the tradition of Tennessee Williams, Lillian Hellman, and Beth Henley, among others.
"The plays included in this volume provide good examples of fine Southern writing. They provide humor, serious drama, a sense of place and enough diversity for most readers to find them excellent entertainment." -- Daily News (Bowling Green, KY)