Hi 88 / Lo 71
University of Houston
151C Communications Bldg
Houston, TX 77204-4015
|Volume 70, Issue 23,
Thursday, September 23, 2004
Life & Arts
Playwright's works in Miranda Project
By Jennifer Brzowski
One never knows what's going on in the heads of the students they pass, but in the case of theater junior Daryl Banner, it might be the setting of a stage or the molding of characters for his next play.
The Miranda Project will feature two of Banner's plays at its next reading, an event that is yet another step in Banner's already prolific excursion into the theatrical realm.
"I kind of fell into theater," said Banner, who has been involved since junior high, and whose accomplishments include being recognized as a semifinalist in the Young Playwrights National Playwriting Competition and having a staged reading of his third play sponsored by DaDa Productions.
That fall into theater impacted both Banner's major and his preferred mode of writing. "I love writing for the stage, because that's the world I know," Banner said. "Somewhere I heard that before you can break rules, you have to know them, and I kind of apply that to playwriting ... I know the rules, and I'm kind of ready to say ‘screw the rules.' ... I just want to spit out whatever I'm thinking and I don't really want to care who it's going to upset and who it's going to bother. "
While playwriting, acting and a theater major may seem consistent, Banner's psychology minor initially seems like an odd addendum.
Banner, however, sees a tie even here. "I asked my psychology teacher, and she said ... I could apply it to my acting or my writing. As writer, I guess it's just more interesting to think about what goes on in characters' heads as I'm writing."
Banner credits his dual involvement in acting and playwriting as a factor in the sometimes quirky nature of his plays. "I got cast in a lot of the weirder, funnier roles in high school, which I guess is reflected in my writing because my style of writing is kind of oddball.
"That's not to say that I write comedy," Banner said. "Most of my plays are pretty dramatic ... My senior year of high school I got to direct the second play I wrote, called Fake Love, and I was surprised by how much of it the audience found funny. I guess the comedicness can come off because these characters go to such outrageous lengths to protect or defend themselves, or fight for something that it can come off to an audience that's just relaxing in their chairs as absurd."
Banner said the inspiration for the two plays being featured by the Miranda Project, Echo and Heaven Lost and Heaven Found, both came out of an experience in his own life. The first is a play in which a couple experiences an "accelerated version" of their relationship, while the second explores resentment and love.
"It goes back and basically says, ‘What drew these two people together in the first place?' because these people who look like they hate each other came together for some reason," Banner said.
"They're both kind of a reaction to my own frustrations with my relationship at the time and I guess with what I witness around me, what I see different friends going through," Banner said. "It just all needs to come out somewhere and these two plays are where it came out."
Banner said he looked forward to seeing an audience react to his plays for the first time.
"I've kept them back and they haven't seen the world yet, and I'm very excited to have people see them and see what they have to say, whether they love it or hate it. If someone came to me and said, ‘That's crap,' I would love it just as much as if someone said, ‘That's brilliant.' The worst reaction is no reaction."
At 1 p.m. Sept. 25, the Miranda Project will host
a reading of Banner's plays Echo and Heaven Found Heaven Lost along with
Holly Hildebrand's Maybelline Box, which deals with society's expectations
of beauty for women. The readings will be in the Terrace Room at the Alley
Theatre, 615 Texas Ave. Admission is free. For more information, call (281)347-5541.
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