Butchertown, Ben Sollee Are the Stars of Actors’ “At the Vanishing Point”

At The Vanishing Point, currently playing at Actors Theatre, might not be so riveting if it took place in another city, or another neighborhood. But the way it uses Louisville’s Butchertown neighborhood as an omnipresent character in the lives of one family puts your mind squarely on Story Avenue.

Or the Fischer’s meatpacking plant, the Oertels brewery, the Kentucky School for the Blind or the Thomas Edison House. All those locations play an integral part in this production. Just as you couldn’t tell a family story about Louisville in 1937 without focusing on the historic flood of that year, the family members who recount their oral histories on stage must anchor their stories to Story Avenue.

At the Vanishing Point Actors Theatre of Louisville, 2015 Photo by Bill Brymer
At the Vanishing Point
Actors Theatre of Louisville, 2015
Photo by Bill Brymer

Each of the six storytellers captures their version of the family story, all of whom are working-class folks who’ve spent most of their lives in Butchertown.

The highlight, for me, was the musical and acting performance of Ben Sollee, the Kentucky-born cellist and composer. Sollee wrote an original score for this production, and remains a presence onstage as the other actors present their stories. I only wished there were more of Sollee’s music in the performance.

The play was written by Naomi Iizuka and directed by Les Waters, who collaborated on this play 11 years ago at the Humana Festival.

During the play’s introduction, Waters promised two more plays set in the local area.

At the Vanishing Point will be performed through Feb. 15 at Actors Theatre. For more information and tickets, click here.