As Actors Theatre’s Humana Festival is winding down, another local-centric theater fest is just getting ready for a curtain call. Previously known as the Finnigan Festival of Funky, Fresh Fun, this year’s event incorporates a name change and the debut of the Derby City Playwrights, a collective of Louisville writers dedicated to the development of locally grown plays.
The man behind it all is playwright Brian Walker, who has been producing the theater festival for eight years. Walker says he’s excited for this year’s showcase, calling it a “coming out party” for the Derby City Playwrights, which he started with David Clark.
“The festival is sort of an amuse bouche of what the DCPers are capable of and about artistically,” he explains. “I also think this is our most mature lineup. Sure, we still like to get funky fresh and fun, but these plays have all undergone rewrites and workshops leading up to the festival, and I think, as a whole, the festival is the strongest night of theater Finnigan has put out there.”
The series of 10-minute plays will include pieces by locals Ben Unwin (“Cruise Control”), Amanda Haan (“Safety”), David Clark (“And in the Silence Penguins Come”), Becky LeCron (“Chipped”), Todd Ziegler (“Gateway”), Eli Keel (“Sausage Fest”), Bryce Woodard (“In the Closet”), Tad Chitwood (“Saint Bob”), Rachel White (“American Goddess”), Brian Walker (“Gamers 4 Life”), Nancy Gall-Clayton (“A Deal”), and Ben Gierhart (“Stops”).
The directors involved range from veterans to rookies and includes the likes of Pandora’s Michael Drury to Bellarmine theater professor Angela Miller.
Before Walker’s opening-night jitters take hold, he answered some very important questions …
What’s the most surprising thing on your Bucket List?
Before I die, I want to spend time at the Karisoke Research Facility that Dian Fossey started in Africa. Since I was a kid and saw the movie “Gorillas in the Mist,” I’ve been infatuated with mountain gorillas. They show up in my dreams all the time. One day I’d like to take a big trip and pay them a visit for real.
What poster was on your wall in junior high?
Madonna. Everywhere. The Blond Ambition Tour was everything when I was in seventh grade, and I had like 12 posters of her covering every inch of my walls.
If you were mayor, to whom would you give the key to the city?
I’d give it to my mom. She’s worked for the Louisville Free Public Library for more than 25 years putting books in people’s hands, and if anyone deserves a key to the city, it’s her.
What are your preferred pizza toppings?
I’m a vegetarian, so only veggies for me, please — green peppers, onions, spinach and banana peppers.
If you could be any age for a week, what would it be?
Oh, for sure the summer between senior year and college — 17. I had just accomplished so much and anything was possible. I had accepted who I was, and nothing could tear me down.
What famous person do people say you resemble the most?
Freshman/sophomore year of high school, everyone called me Doogie Howser because I looked just like Neil Patrick Harris. Now I don’t really get anyone. I don’t know — who do you think?
Who would you most like to be stuck with in an elevator?
Drake. But only if it’s just me and him, and only if there is plenty of booze. You know what they say: What happens in an elevator stays in an elevator. I won’t tell, Drake. I promise.