First produced in at the Actors Theatre of Louisville’s Humana Festival in 1981, Jane Martin would eventually become the theater’s most often produced playwright. Acclaimed by critics, audiences, and fellow playwrights alike, Martin has become known for her biting wit, her contemporary onstage explorations of social issues, and her playful sense of the stereotypical absurd.
Though Martin has never had a single play produced on Broadway, her name has become well known in the theater community, and she is frequently produced—especially in smaller theaters that thrive on her small casts and monologue-form drama. Her mysterious identity has been a favorite subject of critics over the years, though the quality of her plays has retained a surprising ability to overshadow the secondary “identity controversy” that surrounds them.
Martin is a three-time recipient of the American Theater Critics New Play Award—for Talking With, Keely and Du, and Jack and Jill. This speaks both to Martin’s ability to write timely plays and to the centrality in modern theater criticism of the Actors Theatre of Louisville’s Humana Festival—where the majority of Martin works have premiered. The Humana Festival and Martin have been central to the growth of small regional theaters working outside the New York theater scene.