Narrative teens dating violence

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CLEVELAND, Ohio - Tania Benites, who plays Johanna Orozco in the new play that opens at Cleveland Public Theatre on Friday, May 29, sits in a hospital bed listening to voice-mail messages. Where: CPT's Gordon Square Theatre, 6415 Detroit Ave, Cleveland. The first is from a teacher at Lincoln West High School, asking the 18-year-old senior about some missing homework.

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Rivas and his wife, Megan Monaghan Rivas, who is acting as dramaturg on the production, see Orozco as "the live representative of a lot of dead girls." Like Shynerra Grant, a 17-year-old from Toledo killed in 2005 by a former boyfriend who had stalked her for months.While the action in "Johanna" begins with the gunshot, "to really plunge the audience into that moment where her life changed forever," explained Rivas, other violent acts are talked about but not seen. His controlling behavior, [his] emotional, verbal and physical abuse, proved otherwise." Seeing her younger self - the Johanna she used to be, even on the page - has been hard."We're not making a movie," said Monaghan Rivas, where you are expected to show everything. "If reading the draft opened old wounds and triggered old memories, what will the play do? "I am afraid that I won't be able to sit through the whole thing." She's coming anyway, facing her fears with her usual pluck and grace.National Teen Dating Abuse Hotline Phone: 1-866-331-9474 National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) Florida Abuse Hotline Phone: 1-800-962-2873 Phone: 1-800-453-5145 (TDD) Florida Domestic Violence Hotline Phone: 1-800-500-1119 TTY Hotline: 1-800-621-4202 Non-emergency Legal Hotline: 1-800-500-1119 prompt 3 Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence (FCADV) 425 Office Plaza Dr. Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise.Based on the Plain Dealer series "Johanna: Facing Forward" by Rachel Dissell and the journals of Johanna Orozco. "Great," says director and playwright Tlaloc Rivas.

Approximate running time: Two hours, including one 15-minute intermission.

"Let's do it again." It's mid-May, and the cast, a combination of Cleveland Public Theatre regulars and members of Teatro Publico de Cleveland, a Latino theater company CPT launched in 2013, is two weeks away from the first public preview of "Johanna: Facing Forward." The atmosphere is collegial and collaborative, much lighter than the dark, difficult material in Rivas' production - teen-dating violence, stalking and rape.

Later, they run through a gripping, ripped-from-the-headlines moment in the script - the September 2007 sentencing of Ruiz, when then-Judge Timothy Mc Ginty sent the 17-year-old to prison for 27 years. "It's almost like, that's the best he could do, right? "It's all still about From left: Johanna Orozco (with son Malcolm) and Plain Dealer reporter Rachel Dissell (and daughter Willa) tour Gordon Square Theatre in the summer of 2014 to see the space that will house "Johanna: Facing Forward." The world-premiere play is based on Dissell's 2007 series about Orozco's inspiring journey of courage and recovery and Orozco's journals. ' " The playwright reached out to the reporter on New Year's Day 2014, almost seven years after the stories were published.

"That's always how I expressed my feelings for him. When I look in the mirror, I don't see myself anymore - I see you. Though he spoke extensively with Dissell and Orozco when doing research for the script, Rivas didn't talk to Ruiz or those close to him. There had been inquires from book publishers and TV and movie producers.

"My heart shattered into pieces because of the decisions you've made. "Maybe somebody out there wants to tell the Juan story," he said, "but that wasn't what was interesting to me." "It was Orozco's inspiring saga of strength and courage that stuck in Rivas' mind like an insistent memory when he stumbled onto the extraordinary narrative. She and Orozco had nixed most of them, save an appearance on "20/20" after the series ran.

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