Telling America’s stories on stage
CHESTERTOWN, MD—Renowned playwright KJ Sanchez will deliver two free public lectures on drama and the craft of playwriting April 9 and 11 as part of a weeklong residency at the Rose O’Neill Literary House at Washington College. Both events will take place at 4:30 p.m. in the enclosed porch of the Literary House, 407 Washington Avenue.
Sanchez has written ten plays, including the influential Marine docudrama ReEntry. In her April 9 talk, “From Soup to Nuts,” she will discuss the process of playwriting and her own unusual approach to the craft. Each of her plays was born from a single question and was developed through the playwright spending time with real people and studying real events.
Two days later, on April 11, she will deliver a performance and discussion of ReEntry, which she wrote with Emily Ackerman. Based on interviews with Marines who had served in Iraq and Afghanistan, the play explores the challenges they and their families faced back home. In addition to its critical acclaim, ReEntry has been embraced by the U.S. military as a post-deployment training tool and has been presented at more than 30 military bases and hospitals. At the April 11 event, Washington College students will perform a short selection from the play and Sanchez will share her experience writing it and engaging with audiences.
Sanchez has played many roles in the theater world, including actress, director and producer. In addition to her work for the stage, she is the voice actress behind many characters in the cartoons Dora the Explorer and Go Diego Go.
In 2010, in response to the many requests to tour ReEntry, Sanchez created the American Records theater company. Its mission is to cultivate empathy and understanding through works that chronicle American stories about real people.
KJ Sanchez will be in residence at the Literary House as the 2013 Douglass Wallop Fellow. During her week in Chestertown, she will meet with drama classes and work with students in individual conferences.
The Douglass Wallop Fellowship is awarded biennially to an American playwright through a competitive application and screening process. It is named for American novelist and playwright Douglass Wallop (1920-1985), author of 13 works including the 1954 novel The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant and its musical adaptation, Damn Yankees. A graduate of the University of Maryland, Wallop lived for many years on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
Sanchez’s visit is part of the Literary House’s spring programming centered on the theme of “Writing in Wartime.” The series hosted fiction writer Siobhan Fallon in February and will bring memoirist Anthony Swofford to campus on April 18.