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Transforming (a person’s) Character to (a play) Character

Presentation author(s)

Abby Bender ’21, Portland, Oregon

Majors: Theatre Performance; Biology


The goal of this project was to explore how a theatrical character can be created from the experiences of a real individual, specifically looking at historical nonfiction playwriting. This play, titled I May Have Killed but I’m Not Crazy, follows the life of late 1800s serial killer, Jane Toppan and her psychological deterioration in an insane asylum. Preparation included reading the section about Toppan in Fatal by Harold Schecter, reading period newspapers about her crimes, reading the original court transcripts from her trial, and various other internet articles. The piece works to transform Toppan’s experience into a playable one woman script. The script is debuting as a staged reading performed by Sage Green and Amy Sarno, directed by Abby Bender. Come join to learn about history, people, and murder.


Amy Sarno

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