Friday, March 6, 2015

FRIGID New York Interview - Dipti Bramhandkar of "The Accident"

By Byrne Harrison

Show:  The Accident
Photo credit: Nelson Salis

Dipti Bramhandkar started writing at age 9 in a purple diary with a lock. As an Indian born, upstate New York-raised child she had plenty of material. She hasn’t stopped since. She studied English literature at Cornell University for her bachelor’s and received her Masters in English Literature from Cambridge in the UK.   In recent years, her prose writing has leapt from the page into readings and short performances. After participating in the 2014 Labyrinth Theater Company Intensive Ensemble, she began to write for the stage. Her short plays have been performed at the Bank Street Theater and the New York Theater Workshop.

She is thrilled to debut her new play, The Accident, at the Frigid Festival this year in collaboration with fellow Labyrinth Intensive members. By day she runs an advertising strategy practice called DB Quill.  

Tell me a little about your show.

A man suffers horrific injuries from a fall while trying to rescue other climbers. The press gets wind of his story and makes him a famous face overnight. Wealth and power soon follow. He uses his numerous platforms to raise money for other people who are in the process of rehabilitation. But things start to unravel when a journalist linked to his past doubts his story and we search for the truth through the eyes of the people closest to him, including his immigrant father, his physical therapist, a star struck fan and of course, the journalist himself.

In this docu-play, the past collides with the present as we discover what it means to be a hero in the media-obsessed 21st century.

What inspired you to create it?

"I knew I was falling,” a friend said to me when recounting a fall off of a mountain that left him with a plethora of life-altering injuries. His description of the physical trauma and dramatic rehabilitation stayed me for months after. I knew I wanted to write about it. The story of his fall unexpectedly collided with another type of fall – a fall from grace.  Every day we are confronted with revelations about famous people we once admired – Lance Armstrong, Tiger Woods, James Frey, and countless others. As the media firestorm builds around their stories, everything is put into question and the the public finds itself in a proverbial jury box. This play began to take shape through interviews with a physical therapist and psychologist and obsessively reading every ‘fall from grace’ autobiography.
The format of the play is inspired by documentary style filmmaking which allows us to hear multiple perspectives on the same person or situation.  

Who else is helping you bring the show to FRIGID?

The producers, Cara Yeates and Nicol Moeller, as well as several of the cast members and I met at the Labyrinth Theater Company’s Intensive Ensemble last year.   They have been partners in every sense of the word in bringing my play to Frigid. Our generous director, Courtney Wetzel, has brought her many years of experience to the show. 

Who would be your dream audience for this show?

I want to reach out to people who visit the theater infrequently. I want them to feel involved and included so that they will come out to support emerging theater artists much more often.

As a theatre artist, who are your biggest influences?

I admire playwrights like Margaret Edson and Lynn Nottage who have created complex, multi-layered work and artists around the world who make art under difficult circumstances like government censorship.  

What shows are you planning to see at FRIGID?

I Was a 6th Grade Bigfoot, Post Traumatic Super Delightful, and as many others as I can!

What is next for you in 2015?

I’m curating an evening of new short plays for Record Store Day, April 18th, 2015. 

Lightning round

Favorite theatre professional? Mark Rylance

Current show you would love to be involved with? The Audience

Your dream show to be involved with? Bringing a classic Marathi play to an English audience.

Who would you most like to have a chance to work with? Mira Nair

Your best theatre experience? Wit with Judith Light. 

Your worst theatre experience? Haven't had it yet…

Person you’d most like to thank for getting you where you are today? My mom, Alka.

If you'd like to find out more about "The Accident," visit the FRIGID New York website.

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