An Interview with 'Winter & I' Playwright Lauren Hancock
Written by Liza Mitchell
When she decided to enter her script for consideration in the New Voices program, playwright Lauren Hancock had very little expectations. She’d never delved into the world of playwriting but she was familiar with her title character. “When I entered the competition, my only real expectation was to be exposed to the unexpected. I really went into the whole experience blind,” she says. “The character of Winter has been in my head for years and years; writing her into the script just felt natural. When I heard about this program, I decided to try my hand at playwriting and found the format to be ideal for the concept of my story.”
Winter & I explores the complex relationship between the anxious, brilliant teen Elinor and her companion Winter, whose powerful intellect, will and whims both challenge and comfort Eli as she navigates the expectations of school and family life. When Winter mysteriously disappears, Eli must confront herself and clarify to what extent Winter is a part of her.
“As far as the inspiration for the plot, the whole play was heavily based on my own personal experiences with depression, and the challenges it brings me,” says Hancock of her semi-autobiographical play. “There is no better way to spread hope than through sharing our stories. Giving a little glimpse of light to others in the midst of their suffering is what this show is all about. If I can help even one person persevere through a tough time, then I’ve accomplished more than I could have ever hoped to do.”
She trusted the instincts of her director Stephanie Natale Frus and the guidance of dramaturg Kelby Siddons to help nurture her characters and develop a script that tells a compelling story based almost entirely in Elinor’s mind.
“I have been relatively hands-off as far as the directing and casting portion of this process have gone; the director’s choices are her own. That being said, I am immensely happy with the results. Catherine and Abigail are brilliant actresses, and they really capture the spirit of the characters. I’ve worked with Catherine and Abigail before, and I have no doubts they are more than capable of bringing Elinor and Winter to life.” says Hancock, who is thrilled to bring this deeply personal work to life.
“Working with Players has been an eye-opening experience as I’ve learned to appreciate the complexity and sheer dedication it takes to bring a script from my mind and onto paper. I’m beyond grateful to have had this program’s help in molding my fictional world.”