Helen Banner - Ingram New Works Playwright
As we gear up for our annual Ingram New Works Festival (happening May 4-14, don’t miss it!), we want to introduce you to our three 2015-16 Lab Playwrights: Jonathan Alexandratos, Helen Banner, Edith Freni, and Kyle John Schmidt. Since October, our lab playwrights have gathered here in Nashville each month with our Resident Playwright Nate Eppler to create, critique, read and write… and rewrite. Mainly to rewrite. And now the final product is almost here! Their months of hard work will be realized with our incredible Nashville actors giving staged readings of their new plays for you, our wonderful audience. So before you come to the Festival, we want you to get to know our 2015-16 Lab Playwrights. First up is Helen Banner.
What would you be doing if you weren't a playwright?
Helen: I would still be an academic historian. My last job before I started to write full time was as a lecturer on religion, politics and magic at the end of the Roman Empire, a period I love. But I wanted to write plays rather than journal articles. For me theatre is a much more urgent, democratic way to discuss ideas.
Describe one thing that is present in all your plays.
Smart women with sharp thoughts and their own way of speaking.
Describe one thing you are very excited about in your Lab play.
I'm very excited by the speed of the play. It feels like a train racing on the tracks and I can't wait to push that as far as we can in rehearsals with our fantastic cast.
Helen is an associate artist with New Georges and a member of The Jam and the Inaugural Writer/Director Lab at Everyday Inferno Theatre Company. Her work has been developed at New Georges, the Wild Project, Dixon Place, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, The Lark, the Great Plains Theatre Conference and the Last Frontier Theatre Conference. Helen has been a Finalist for a 2015 InterACT 20/20 Commission and a Semi-finalist for the Gulfshore Playhouse New Works Festival 2014 and the Bay Area Playwrights Festival 2014. Her play Soldier Love was a Semi-finalist for the Stanley Drama Award 2015 and a Finalist for the Newman/Woodward Prize 2015.
Her Play - Thrill Day | May 4 & 14, 2016
A staged train wreck as the spectacular conclusion of a State Fair serves as the backdrop of this bold new play. A Victorian couple seeks increasing thrills to regain their bohemian marriage, but their reckless actions soon put an entire town at risk. Thrill Day is a collision of steel, sex, race, gender, class and the pursuit of explosive pleasures.
Ready to see Thrill Day and the rest of the new plays in our Ingram New Works Festival? Get all the details, and your tickets, here.