Lisa Soland, Instructor, All Original Playwright Workshop Starting Saturday, Feb. 6

You usually do these online or in L.A.—how will aspiring playwrights from Knoxville be different?

If my belief was that people are that different, I wouldn't be a playwright at all. I believe people are the same everywhere if you strip away the car they drive, their education... you come down to what a human is. We all have insecurities, and with creative writing, you have to create something out of nothing. We're being asked to fill a blank page. A really good writing teacher has to help people cope.

You've published or produced 25 plays and short works yourself. Does that make it harder to teach the craft?

You can't teach writing. The best I can do is inspire them to write. The worst thing I can possibly do is impose my own ideas on my students.

How'd you get the idea for the workshop?

Theater is a collaborative art; you can't do it alone in your room. Dialogue has to be read, which is why the workshop was created. You never know what you have, which is what drives you crazy, until you have it read.

How's the Los Angeles-Knoxville commute working out?

I go to play openings and teach workshops there and I kept an apartment there, so I'm bicoastal. Any time one of my plays is produced and I'm asked to direct it, I go there. I've produced or directed 55 original plays, most of them written by others.

Burt Reynolds is now directing your play Truth Be Told in Jupiter, Fla. Think any groups here will perform your plays?

I have no idea if that's what will happen. I will write more plays, because I don't have to rely on external circumstances. I will keep writing plays as long as I can find a piece of paper and a pen.,

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