David Hansen An Indie Theater Profile by Eric Coble

This is an Indie Theater Companion Artist Profile, written by playwright Eric Coble. Eric Coble's scripts include Bright Ideas, Stranded on Earth, My Barking Dog, A Girl’s Guide to Coffee, and The Giver and have been produced on and off Broadway, in all fifty states of the U.S., and on several continents. His recent play The Velocity of Autumn opens on Broadway in spring of 2014, starring Estelle Parsons and Stephen Spinella, directed by Molly Smith.

David Hansen brings one huge gift to his playwriting: He's a damn fine actor.

No, make that two gifts: He's a damn fine actor and a quick wit.

Three. Three gifts: Damn fine actor, quick wit, and courage.

This list could go on forever. The point is that these are plays that are firing on all cylinders. David has spent years working in other people's plays (people like Shakespeare and Miller and Williams) and knows what will be fun for an actor to play and what won't. So ALL of his parts in ALL of his works are fun for actors to play. You can tell it right on the page. That doesn't mean that all his plays are funny (through they will all make you laugh at multiple points) -- the meat and horror that an actor must wrestle with in I Hate This is worlds away from the whimsy and wordplay of Double Heart or even On the Dark Side of Twilight, but the rewards for both actor and audience are immense.

And here's where the courage comes in: while these stories may be originals or riffs on classic tales, they all deal with deep, real, sometimes awful subjects: lost children, what it means to raise a child in the world, obsession, fear, first love, the limits of human endurance, the nature of what it means to be male and female -- David dives into it all face-first, taking our hand and pulling us along. But he does it with laughs, with honesty and earthiness and a constant -- always a constant -- sense of play.

These are very different plays meant to stretch actors, directors, and audiences in different ways. But they all come from a singular talent, a unique mindset with a gift for words, images, and stories that, once experienced, will live on in the mind for years after.

So four. Four gifts: Acting, wit, courage, and timelessness.

What more do you want in a play?

posted January 14, 2014