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THE KENTUCKY CYCLE
An Epic Drama of Americana

The Kentucky Cycle directed by Lavinia Hart and Patricia Ansuini is a spell-binding dramatic experience. While many people when they first hear of the six-hour play wonder why people would attend such a long performance, all we need do is look at the success of the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the continued success of mini-series on television. Longer performances are riveting and draw the viewer into the work.


Take a look at the review from the Detroit Free Press which salutes The Kentucky Cycle and compares the play to other lengthy performances like Nicholas Nickleby.


Directors Lavinia Hart and Patricia Ansuini are at liberty to direct this fabulous play across the country. Email the directors for more information about producing this play at your theatre.



"The Kentucky Cycle is a series of nine plays that spans over 200 years of American history in a small portion of eastern Kentucky. Although the features are local, the issues raised in the play are universally American and draw on the very best and the very worst in America’s history. The plays explore violence as a part of American life—whether that violence is racial, gender-based, or environmental— and how each generation deals with and works through the American tendency to use force first and ask questions later."
-- Bookrags


Playwrite Robert Schenkkan received a grant from the Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays for The Kentucky Cycle. The play premiered in 1991 at Intiman Theatre in Seattle, Washington. In 1992 The Kentucky Cycle won the Pulitzer Prize for Best Drama.

The play is usually performed in two parts, with one part on one day followed by the second part on the following day. The dialogue is poignant, lyrical, and from the heart.

"Spring usta explode in these mountains like a two-pound charge of black powder hand-tamped down a rathole. After months of grey skies and that damp mountain cold that bores into your bones like termites in a truckload of wood, its your dogwood trees that finally announce what everthin's been watin' for.

First thing some morning, you might see a single blossom hangin' there, light pink, the colour of a lover's promise... If lies had a colour. And then later that afternoon, damned if that bud ain't been joined by a hunnert of his brothers and sisters all sittin' 'round, chattin' each other up, Sunday-go-to-meetin' style. 'Course, dogwood's just the beginnin'.

The spark what lights the fuse for spring, that's the azaleas. When they get to goin'm, you'd swear somebody'd scattered a whole handful of lit matches across those hills. Bible story is how old man Moses talked to a burnin' bush. But for my money, he was just conversin' with a scarlet azalea in full bloom. Story just got a little expanded in the retellin'... the way stories do.

Fella once told me a story, said these ain't no real mountains here at all - that iff you stood high enough, you could see it was all just one big mound that had been crisscrossed and cut up into so many hills and valleys by the spring run-off, that it just looked like mountains. Leastways, that was his story.

Only, I don't put no truck in stories no more."


Director Comments

The Kentucky Cycle is the story of how it took one family line, the Rowens, two hundred years of struggle to supplant the nature of exploitation and violence with a nature of hope and harmony to overcome their servitude to the power of blood and land and realize that our higher purpose is to serve the human family in loving, compassionate and merciful community. The experience of The Kentucky Cycle is a remarkable portrayal of the evolution of the American mind and calls on us all to make the effort "to conceive a new world."


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