As playwrights, we usually draw from real-life stories to create a narrative play. However, we can also do extensive research and interviews with people on which to build a documentary theater piece about a dynamic individual or a particular group or people, say veterans or victims of domestic violence. We have the option to create characters based on those interviewees or by using the subject's exact words from an interview transcript in a verbatim piece. In this workshop, we'll discuss the techniques necessary to research a topic and get comprehensive interviews from which to draw material or language for the docudrama. Each student will develop a shorter piece that can stand on its own or be developed into a one-act or full-length play.
Instructor: Christopher Johnston has published more than 3,500 articles in publications including American Theatre, Christian Science Monitor, History Magazine, and Scientific American. His book, Shattering Silences: Strategies to Prevent Sexual Assault, Heal Survivors, and Bring Assailants to Justice (Skyhorse) was published in May 2018. Johnston wrote The Way I Saw It, the memoirs of the late Marc Wyse, co-founder of Wyse Advertising, which was published in 2013. He teaches playwriting and creative nonfiction workshop courses at Cleveland State University and writing workshops for Literary Cleveland and the William N. Skirball Writers Center at the Cuyahoga County Public Library South Euclid-Lyndhurst branch. He was recently named to the Board of the American Society of Journalists and Authors.
Johnston has written several docudramas based on extensive, in-depth interviewing, including Sexually Explicit Material about people's sexual experiences and beliefs at Cleveland Public Theatre, Ghosts of War about Vietnam veterans at Dobama Theatre, My Body is Blue about a victim of domestic violence at Dobama and convergence-continuum, and Live Bodies for Sale about human trafficking in Northeast Ohio at Playwrights Local.
Details: Just the Facts, Man: Documentary Playwriting Workshop takes place Mondays November 1, 8, 15 & 29 and December 6 & 13 from 6:30-8:30pm remotely through Zoom.