40th LouisvilleKY Humana Festival at Actors Leads with Residence

The 40th Humana Festival of New American Plays kicked off with a modern, emotional story involving motherhood and mental illness. In Residence, new mom Maggie takes a business trip to Arizona packing some secrets about her life at home, where her husband is taking care of a new baby.

But she’s feeling a lot of pressure to sell the ultrasound medical device to doctors, and is tormented by her past. She befriends a couple of hotel employees, who have some issues of their own. The young hotel manager has plenty of worry about — succeeding in a dead-end job after her father has invested in her schooling. Her staff member doesn’t share her enthusiasm for providing a five-star experience, but instead gets high with Maggie.  All this plays out in a gripping 1:55.

Leah Karpel and Alejandro Rodriguez in Residence by Laura Jacqmin_2016 Humana Festival_Photo by Bill Brymer.

The characters have flaws, but by the end you are pulling for them. The playwright is Chicago-based Laura Jacqmin, who writes for TV and video games, and is originally from Cleveland.

Actors’ Theatre’s Humana Festival of New American Plays runs through April 10. There are seven new plays in all.