Denis Johnson presents staged reading of play 'Psychos Never Dream'

By Marc Speir
University News Service
April 11, 2007

Texas State University-San Marcos professor Denis Johnson will present a staged reading of his play, Psychos Never Dream, on Friday, April 13 at 7:30 p.m. in the Alkek teaching theater across the mall from the Alkek Library on campus.

Meredith O’Brien, adjunct theatre instructor and founder of The Wonder and Rye Theatre Company in Boston, will direct the performance.

The production is recommended for mature audiences due to the presence of adult language. Admission is free of charge and open to the general public.

Johnson is an award-winning author and playwright who currently holds the Roy F. and Joann Cole Mitte endowed chair in creative writing, given to a writer of international distinction each year. He also serves as playwright in residence for the Campo Santo Theater Company in San Francisco.

“I started out as a poet, began writing short stories then novels,” Johnson said. “I just finished a novel and I have (more recently) started writing plays.”

Set in a small northern Idaho town that is the former site of a commune, Psychos Never Dream is an apocalyptic satire of murder and greed played out against a landscape that is now dominated by corporations, franchises and other conveniences of modernity.

The world Johnson shows to the audience is one of madness, in which once idealistic hippies have become petty, spiteful and deceitful in their narcissistic pursuit of the American dream of easy money and luxury.

“When we go to a play, we need to be assured that the experience we're having, which is totally isolated, is like the characters’ experience,” Johnson said. “To a certain extent, we want to be assured we're alive.”

Johnson is the author of six novels, a novella, five collections of poetry, one work of non-fiction, and six plays. He says writing has remained the only constant in his life.

“It’s the one thing I really know how to do,” he said. “Everything else I am still an amateur at.”

The reading is sponsored by the Roy F. and Joann Cole Mitte Foundation and the Department of English.  Parking in the LBJ Student Center Garage is free after 7 p.m. and $2 per hour before then. Directions to the Alkek Library teaching theater and the LBJ Student Center garage may be found at: