November 28, 2014

Elyria
Cloudy
27°F
test

Retired Lake Ridge drama teacher wins short playwriting contest in England

OBERLIN — A play called “Beatlemania,” written by retired teacher Maureen Brady Johnson, is one of the winners in the Ticket to Write Festival in England this summer.

Maureen Brady Johnson of Oberlin holds some of her Beatles memorabilia.

Maureen Brady Johnson of Oberlin holds some of her Beatles memorabilia.

The 10-minute play will be performed at the Unity Theatre on July 30 in Liverpool, where members of the band grew up.

“It’s about a woman who has such a bad case of Beatlemania she can only talk in titles of Beatles songs,” Johnson said.

This is the second year Johnson has entered the competition and she’s tickled that the play will be performed.

It’s a thrill that Johnson, who taught drama at Lake Ridge Academy, will enjoy from afar due to some pressing repairs needed to a garage roof.

But she plans to continue writing about the Fab Four for the foreseeable future.

Her first entry in the competition last year was called “George,” and she plans a foursome of short plays about the men who changed popular music.

Her own favorite is Paul McCartney.

“I liked Paul because he had such beautiful eyes and a melodic voice,” she said.

Johnson, who has been teaching and directing plays and musicals for more than 30 years, said working as a playwright is a powerful experience.

“Most of us who are playwrights do so because we feel deeply about something and you can see your characters come alive,” she said.

Her 10-minute play, “Rock, Paper, Scissors” was a finalist for the National Ten Minute Play contest at the Actors Theatre of Louisville.

And “The Gift of a Thornless Rose” was a finalist for the Dubuque Iowa One Act play contest, while “Shoes on a Highway” captured third place in the Nantucket Short Play contest.

Her play “Harvesting the Marigold Seeds” won second place in the Little Theatre of Alexandria (Virginia) one-act play contest.

She also is a contributor to Teaching Theatre magazine, a publication of the Educational Theatre Association and she prepared the first lesson plan ever published by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame magazine, Impact.

Johnson also wrote three books that help teachers use drama in the classroom.

Her first two, “Middle Mania” and “Middle Mania Two,” (Smith and Kraus publishers) share with teachers her approaches to teaching drama to middle-school students.

A third book, “Shoes on the Highway: Using Visual and Audio Cues to Inspire Student Playwrights” (Heinemann Publishers), offers insight to teachers who want to teach playwriting in the classroom.

Contact Cindy Leise at 329-7245 or cleise@chroniclet.com.