Waafrika 123 Featured Artist: Christy Johnson

What is your role for this production of Waafrika 123 and what inspired you to get involved?

Sound Designer. What inspired me to join the team was the diverse nature of the play. I love how the play touches on the difficult issues. The sound design calls for a dynamic soundscape that highlights the culture and shows glimpses of western influence.

Talk about your background as an artist and designer. What sorts of stories or productions do you find most compelling to design for?

My background in production started in undergrad. I attended a school called Southwest Minnesota State University that allowed me to try many different areas of theatre. Sound design allowed me to paint a visual picture with music for audience members. The stories I find most compelling to design for are the productions that push the paradigms of audience member’s thoughts and touch on issues everyone thinks about, but that no one may speak up about.

What have been some of the unique opportunities of designing for Waafrika 123?

Some of the opportunities that come with this script are using music, and recording cues, which are in a different language. It is not something I get to do often, and I am happy to be doing it now.

What social issues are important to you and how do they inform the art you create?

One of the most critical issues to me is diversity. Also, I think it is important to give people who are marginalized a safe space to explore and create art. Therefore, I want elements of my design to feature many different artists and sounds that complement those cultures.

What playwrights have inspired you over the years?

I have an eclectic taste in playwrights that have inspired me such as Shakespeare, August Wilson, Sarah Ruhl, Harold Pinter, and Paula Vogel among many others. Each playwright has helped expand my artistic essence and they have given me new perspective on life.

Have you been involved with 20% Theatre in the past?

This is my first time working on a production for 20% Theatre. I hope to work with them more in the future!

When you are not designing, how do you spend your time? What are some of your hobbies or passions in life?

My other passions include acting on stage and sometimes singing in musicals. When I am not a part of a show, I love to hang with family and friends, travel, attend music concerts, cook, or play board games.