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 purely documentary theater piece about a dynamic individual or a particular group of 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 a play. We’ll also develop a short piece that can stand on its own or be developed into a one-act or full-length play.
A freelance journalist since 1987, Christopher Johnston has published 3,000+ articles in regional and national publications and had more than a dozen of his plays produced. Currently, he is writing a book about the 50 years of post-Vietnam War resiliency of the survivors of Bravo Company, First Battalion, Ninth Marines who served at Khe Sanh and suffered the highest loss rate in Marine history.