Louisville Magazine

MAR 2019

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

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louisville.com 48 LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 3.19 It no doubt will be a challenging evening of theater, but sensitive underdogs encountering hard truths — and the political situations that produce such casualties of history — are much of the attraction for Wallace and Khalidi. Her three other Humana Festival works peer out from the underside of history and do so in a variety of settings. e first, One Flea Spare (1996), is set among the quarantined ill in plague- ravaged 17th-century London. e Trestle at Pope Lick Creek (1998) references the infamous railroad span outside Louisville and follows the stifled ambitions of two rural Kentucky youths coming of age during the Great Depression. Her research on Louisville's West End inspired the third, e Hard Weather Boating Party (2009), which implicates three men in a murder scheme against the head of a polluting Rubbertown chemical company. (Khalidi's seven previous plays have focused on the Middle East and Palestine.) Social and political activism came early to Wallace and her siblings. Her parents were labeled radicals in conservative Louisville. According to a 1997 profile of her in the New York Times, Wallace attended her first protest march at age eight and spent portions of her childhood visiting friends in far less prosperous homes near the Rose Island Road farm. She grew up with money and privilege but credits much of her storytelling and flair for dialogue to listening to the conversations of those working-class and rural-poor families, both white and African-American. "I am moved," she told the Times, "by the way the system breaks people in half, and still they rise up to tell their story again, with grace and eloquence." Coming out of Hampshire College and the Iowa Writers' Workshop as a poet, Wallace brings a lyricism and personal voice to characters confronted by social and political roadblocks. She self-imposes the requirement to fully research the context of characters like Jawad. "To realize my own ignorance, I need to go to historians, artists, novelists to help me understand before I can write," she says. Her early plays went largely unproduced in the U.S., debuting instead in England. Actors eatre passed on two works with Kentucky connections before staging One Flea Spare, the hit of the 1996 Humana Festival. "I did find it ironic," Wallace told the Times, "that the play I wrote about a young gay man from Kentucky who goes to the Gulf War (In the Heart of America) — that Louisville passed on that play. The online home of Louisville Magazine BEST CITY Click on the MUSIC EAT & SWIG BIT TO DO

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