“Bankers” Premieres New Post-Apocalyptic Picture at Know

Know Theatre‘s world premiere of Bankers by local playwright Brant Russell offers a new humorous take on the post-apocalyptic world. Forget zombies, this story is all about preservation vs. progress as we’re introduced to a small sliver of the world where a forest thrives, but is threatened by hungry outsiders looking for resources. 

Review by Christy Carson

Bankers Plot, Characters, and Performance

We start in a bank where we meet Surrey and Hunter. James Creque as Hunter brings a bright and energetic personality to the stage that balances Aisha Josiah’s worn out, somber Surrey, who’s the boss of the town. The whole play takes place in this bank, but we hear of much off-stage action, similar to Greek plays. 

We quickly learn they’re very wary of visitors as they discuss finding a necklace that doesn’t match any of their records. This fear is heightened when an Old Man (Jim Hopkins) walks in asking to open an account at the bank and Herbie (Ben Dudley) accuses him of cutting down trees. 

We also learn that this community has very specific rules they follow, especially regarding said visitors. They must always check in at the Welcome Center first, and only locals can open accounts. These rules are very important and often repeated, mostly by Herbie, our beloved rule-follower. 

We later meet a much more assertive visitor called Migrant (Eileen Earnest) who speaks on behalf of her people who need to hunt the forest and plant crops, which Surrey refuses to allow, as she must protect this forest, this community, and her legacy.

Earnest brings a powerful presence and intriguing characterization to Migrant that draws us in and waits for Aisha to counter with her more subtle and grounded objections.

K Jenny Jones comes in as Sharon towards the end of their confrontation to add some welcome humor, as she continues to do throughout the show. Jones also offers us some beautifully real moments mixed into the humor as Sharon talks of her life before the explosions.

Hunter (James Creque), Sharon (K Jenny Jones), and Herbie (Ben Dudley) practice a song for the festival during the premiere of Bankers at Know Theatre. Photo by Dan R Winters.

Deep Dive into the Design of Bankers

As we’ve come to expect from Know productions, Jim Stark truly delivers as the Technical Director. Andrew Hungerford designed a beautiful set complete with marble countertops that pair well with Danielle Robison’s painted marble floors. The set gives the impression the bank had been there long before the explosions, along with some random furniture that indicated the community had made do with what they found after, including a special green chair the characters all indicated was for visitors only.

Robison goes the extra mile with props by filling random plastic bottles with “beer” the community brewed and providing a watermelon that is cut and eaten on stage (as well as a vodka bottle to spike the watermelon with and shot glasses to place the watermelon shots into). 

Everyone’s costumes (by Noelle Wedig Johnston) fit their characters well, from Surrey’s toned down, casual jeans, to Hunter’s “well armed” look, to Migrant’s hiker persona, but with sunglasses. The only confusing choice was giving Herbie antlers to wear since Herbie is so against hunting the deer the entire play. 

Douglas Borntrager’s sound design added to the story in key moments to tell us when the vault locked and unlocked. Some of the sound affects were much louder than the actors’ voices and some of the recorded voice overs didn’t make sense when blended with actors speaking onstage since they sounded so different together.

The Bottom Line (TLDR)

If you’re looking for a new story with strong acting, check out Bankers at Know Theatre. The set will draw you in before you sit down and the characters will make you laugh before you know what the show is about. 

Get Tickets to Bankers at Know Theatre

Bankers runs through May 14 at Know Theatre. They offer several tiers of ticket prices to make theatre accessible while continuing to pay their actors living wages. You can even reserve a ticket for $5 on Wednesdays. Can’t make it in person? They also offer livestream tickets. Get your tickets here!

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