The following are responses Dana Lynn Formby, author of JOHNNY 10 BEERS' DAUGHTER had when asked about her experience writing the play, and what it's been like to collaborate with Something Marvelous on the Grafting Project production of JOHNNY 10 BEERS' DAUGHTER opening May 21st at Chicago Dramatists' space.
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How did you and Emmi Hilger (Director) begin collaborating on this project? Can you discuss the early development of the play before hitting the rehearsal room?
Emmi and I met in an early childhood class at Truman Community College. We had an assignment to bring in an object that was important to us. She brought in a book called A Practical Handbook for the Actor written by a group of David Mamet's students. I love this book. I was all, "Who is this preschool teacher?!" So then we geeked out on the book and found out that we both knew Richard Perez who at the time was the Associate Director at Chicago Dramatists. Then the pair of us did a staged reading of my play "If you Split a Second" at Pegasus Theatre Chicago. So when I wrote Johnny 10 Beers I knew she would be great to direct the first staged reading at Chicago Dramatists. I new Randy and she knew Arti and then we read Johnny 10 Beers' Daughter with a group of lovely people who gave up their Saturday to help me develop this play.
Dana what was your inspiration for writing the piece?
"My father is a Vietnam Vet. After he saw my first play, he sat me down and said, 'Kid, I don't have the power to tell what happened over there but you do.' He then proceeded to talk about the 'police action'. These stories were locked inside of him for forty years. Forty. Drowned in bourbon. As he talked about 'over there' he came to point where he got still. Silent. Then he bowed his head and told me about a kid who was walking and then running towards his base's boundary. My father yelled for the kid to stop. The kid continued forward. A shot rang out. Finally the kid stopped. Threat neutralized. Blood spilled. Life gone. My father's silence was born.
How did you end up producing the play with Something Marvelous, and how did the Grafting project aid the development of the play?
When the Grafting Project was first announced Emmi and I got very excited because we thought this play would be a great fit. We both love Chi-dram, as I lovingly call my artistic home, so we applied. Arti, Randy, Emmi, Chi-dram, and I have all been with this play since it's first 7 pages.
ABOUT THE GRAFTING PROJECT:
The Grafting Project at Chicago Dramatists promotes Resident Playwrights in association with other theatrical organizations. Companies interested in producing a play by a Chicago Dramatists Resident Playwright can apply, and if the organization is approved, Chicago Dramatists provides five weeks of free theatre rental, valued at over $6000.