DANNY'S BRAIN

DANNY’S BRAIN is a full-length drama about the tragedy of traumatic brain injuries caused by concussions in high school football and the NFL. Set in 2004, before discoveries of brain injuries in various sports. In a remote town in southwestern Pennsylvania, we meet Karen Connelly, a single football mom who also works as a senior technician at a commercial pathology lab. Her son Griffin is a senior...
DANNY’S BRAIN is a full-length drama about the tragedy of traumatic brain injuries caused by concussions in high school football and the NFL. Set in 2004, before discoveries of brain injuries in various sports. In a remote town in southwestern Pennsylvania, we meet Karen Connelly, a single football mom who also works as a senior technician at a commercial pathology lab. Her son Griffin is a senior varsity defensive linebacker and a local star now being scouted for the top football colleges—pipelines to the NFL. While her job is just a job, her son and his success are the core of her life. She will allow nothing to get in the way of his promising career. This present-day story is paralleled by events from the life of one of the NFL’s greatest defensive heroes—the “Iron Man” Danny Durwent, who has recently committed suicide at age 43—the victim of early dementia caused by traumatic brain injury. Karen’s new associate at the lab, Arthur is convinced they’re on to something when they receive the assignment to analyze the tissue of an anonymous human brain. The lab—a strictly commercial enterprise—is not like a university research lab. There are no bold discoveries; no possibilities of glory. But Arthur thinks otherwise and as he probes beyond the scope of his duties, he enters dangerous territory for both himself and Karen. After Griffin sustains a serious concussion in a game, the choice of whether he should return to the all-important playoffs remains the central question for Karen, the team’s coach, and the ever-eager Griffin—who wants nothing more than to achieve the stardom he’s worked so hard for. But he is also haunted by Danny Durwent’s ghost as he begins to experience the baffling, inexplicable symptoms of traumatic brain injury. Inspired by real events, DANNY’S BRAIN is the story of small-town America’s devotion to football from high school, through college and into the NFL—regardless of the dangers of traumatic brain injury. The play includes stylized recreations of slow-motion football action which dramatize the beauty, drama and violence of the game. Danny’s Brain was made possible by a grant from the ALFRED P. SLOAN FOUNDATION, to encourage theater artists to explore scientific themes, under the auspices of ENSEMBLE STUDIO THEATRE, NY.
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DANNY'S BRAIN

Development History

  • Reading
    ,
    The Lark Play Development Center
    ,
    2015
  • Reading
    ,
    Ensemble Studio Theatre, NYC: First Light Series
    ,
    2013
  • Commission
    ,
    Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
    ,
    2011