Alex Pannier makes his NotaBle Acts playwriting debut this season with his play Casualties, a dark, multifaceted family drama directed by Jean-Michel Cliche.
Included as part of our series, Acting Out: Two One Acts Plays, the play pairs perfectly with Greg Everett’s Carrion Birds to create a thrilling evening of suspenseful storytelling.
We had a quick chat with Alex to get his take on this year’s festival, his play and what it means to be part of NotaBle Acts.
Can you start by telling us about your past involvement in NotaBle Acts?
I have been part of NotaBle Acts since the summer of 2016, and I’ve mostly worked as crew and tech, but last year I did act in the festival. This summer is new territory for me, as I’m involved in the festival as both a playwright and a crew member.
What can you tell us about Casualties? Was it something you wrote specifically for the festival?
Casualties wasn’t initially something I wrote for NotaBle, I started writing in a writing workshop class taught by Len Falkenstein last November. However, he did suggest that I should submit it to the festival- and I’m glad that I did! Casualties is a play that explores the dynamic of trauma and domestic conflict from the eyes of the children involved, but takes a nebulous and non-linear approach to the story. The children jump through time into past experiences- one scene they will be children and playing games with each other, and in the next they’ll be teenagers struggling to cope with the severe dysfunction of their household. All this as they circle around a manifestation of their shared trauma that haunts them throughout the story.
What does it mean to you as a playwright to have your work produced by NotaBle Acts?
This is first time I’ve had my writing performed, and it often still feels surreal for me, seeing the actors on stage taking the script and story to wonderful places. The dramaturgy I’ve received both from Len Falkenstein during his class, and from NotaBle’s dramaturge this season, Anna Chatterton, has been vital to this creative process, and I have nothing but gratitude for their guidance.
What’s been the best part of the festival for you so far?
The best part of this festival for me is the capacity of involvement I’ve had in the production process of Casualties as a crew member for NotaBle. It has been very fulfilling to collaborate with the director, Jean-Michel Cliche, and bring both of our artistic visions of the show to life. It’s been wonderful, because for the past few weeks I’ve been waking up every day to go design and construct most of the physical components of the show- essentially, Casualties has been my full-time job. It’s been one of those experiences where it puts a stupid grin on my face every time I think about it.