Four world premieres highlight NKU's new play festival

Northern Kentucky University’s YES Festival is the oldest collegiate new-play festival in the country. The biennial festival started in 1983, and it returns this month for its 20th anniversary.

This year, the Year End Series (YES) Festival, hosted by NKU’s School of the Arts, will present four world-premiere plays. They include a first-ever regional collaboration with The Carnegie in Covington, and the production of a new play by Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati’s Producing Artistic Director, D. Lynn Meyers.

“Keeper of the Realm,” written by Meyers and directed by Brian Robertson, is about what happens when middle-aged parents unexpectedly pass away and their 20-something children get together to decide what happens to their family house and possessions. “Keeper of the Realm is about those we love and what is truly never lost,” NKU says. The show opened April 1 and runs through April 16 at The Carnegie in Covington.

“Falstaff and the Endless Machine,” written by Jared Michael Delaney and directed by Daryl Harris, explores how the most famous drunken coward in literary history became who he became. It examines questions of friendship, duty, love, honor, justice, and the law. The play opens Thursday, April 7, and runs through April 17 at NKU Corbett Theatre.

“New Year's Eve at the Stop-n-Go,” written by Samantha Oty and directed by Mike King, concerns a group of friends who confront their changing lives and each other at a convenience store on Dec. 31, 1999. It runs April 8-17 at NKU Stauss Theatre.

“Persona,” written by Sage Daman, will be directed by Ed Cohen in a staged reading at The Henry Theatre at NKU, a studio theater with limited seating. The play revolves around a stressed businessman who is invited to a club in the city to reconnect with an old friend, but once there, he encounters his subconscious in physical form and must overcome its increasingly reckless suggestions. The play runs April 9-16.

“The Pig Farm,” written by Richard Klein, will be directed by Ed Cohen in a staged reading at The Henry. It’s about two young Christian women who find their faith tested as they attempt to dispose of the evidence of a recent display of faith by feeding it to pigs housed on a rural farm. The play runs April 10-16.

Tickets are available here or by calling (859) 572-5464. More information is available at the festival website.  

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Read more articles by David Holthaus.

David Holthaus is the managing editor of NKY Thrives, an award-winning journalist, and a Cincinnati native. When not writing or editing, he's likely to be bicycling, hiking, reading or watching classic movies.