Playwriting with Johnny Meyer
Taught by Johnny Meyer, Playwright
October 21-24 TTh 8:30-10:30AM
Austin Community College – Eastview
“Getting into the minds of ‘others’ can be a daunting task, but it is an essential skill for writers. The goal of the workshop is to help writers develop empathetic details about characters unfamiliar to themselves. It unfolds in three phases. In the first phase, we free-write on seemingly innocuous details. In the second phase, we develop a bland characterization of someone we have never written about before: a basketball coach, or a university janitor, or whomever the case may be. In the third phase, we develop a scenario in which our ‘bland’ character notices and interacts with the innocuous details the we depicted in Phase 1. The exercise, in sum, forces us to confront the ‘other,’ get inside their heads, and empathize with their daily existence.”
Johnny Meyer is an artist and social scientist studying at the University of Texas at Austin. His work as a playwright and an actor has been featured in the Austin Chronicle, The Austin American-Statesman, KUT radio, and the BBC online. His stage play “American Volunteers” won the 2010 Mitchell Award at the University of Texas, and subsequently made the long-list for the Dylan Thomas Prize in the United Kingdom. He performed at the White House thanks to Aquila Theatre’s ongoing outreach program, “Ancient Greeks/Modern Lives.” His plays have also received support from The Great Plains Theatre Conference, the Cohen New Works Festival, Austin Scriptworks, University Co-Op, and Frontera Fest.
Much of Johnny’s work draws on his experiences as an Airborne Ranger. He served in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and his military awards and badges include the Bronze Star, Good Conduct Medal, Combat Infantry Badge, Parachutist Badge, and Ranger Tab.
Johnny earned a three year graduate research fellowship from the National Science Foundation for his work on political violence along the Mexico-U.S. border. He also studies why states deploy special operations forces, and why individuals choose to join such units. In addition to receiving funding from the National Science Foundation, he has received support from the Institute for Qualitative and Multi-Method Research, the Program in British Studies, and the Schusterman Center for Jewish Studies.