Greg interviews Greg Vovos, a playwright and director who has worked in Cleveland theater since 1998. While Greg has written a myriad of plays, he’s also worked consistently for the Theatre of Healthy Living at the Fine Arts Association; crafting plays for high schools, detention centers, and youth prisons about issues like racism, teen pregnancy, obesity, and drug and alcohol abuse. His most recent play, titled “How to Be a Respectable Junkie,” at Dobama Theatre, tells the story of Brian, a heroin addict set on taking his own life to spare everyone around him from his problems.

Greg asks playwright Vovos about the inspiration for his story. He explains that the process started when the artistic director of the Dobama Theater, Nathan Motta, asked a group of playwrights to compose a one person show about someone from an under-served community.  In his research for a different play, he met a man who was a speaker for a heroin and opiate abuse panel, and decided to base his one-person play off of that man’s life. “When I was researching [the play] Well Beings, I was going to various town hall meetings about heroin and opiate abuse.  And I met a man, who was talking on a panel, and he was really engaging in his story, it was really interesting… So, after the meeting… I introduce myself and he couldn’t be nicer. And I’m like, ‘Can I interview you?’ and he’s like ‘Yeah, sure, of course. No problem.’ So we ended up meeting at a Denny’s that was kind of in the middle of where we lived and we talked for a couple of hours, because it was really important to me that I would get this right. I didn’t want to write a play that someone who has first-hand experience would come in and see it and say ‘That’s not true.’… It was really important to me to get it to truth, because that’s what drew me into it from the beginning – what I thought was true and what was true were completely different things.”

Listen to the podcast to discover how through his friendship, playwright Vovos was able to craft a play about the day-to-day realities of someone living with substance use disorder.