The content in this collection is available only to Washington University in St. Louis users per the request of the Office of Undergraduate Research. If you have questions, please contact .


The Real Dramatis Personae: Researching and Creating Characters for the New Play Chosen


Noga P. Landau

Document Type

Feature Article

Publication Date

Spring 5-1-2007

Publication Title

Washington University Undergraduate Research Digest: WUURD 2(2)


Faculty Mentor: Henry Schvey

In 1972, eleven members of the Israeli Olympic team were taken hostage and killed by terrorists during the games in Munich, Germany. Numerous books, documentaries, and movies have been made detail- ing this event, and now, in an effort to present a more intimate, person- al side to the story, a play. After conducting extensive interviews with a man named David Pollak, a former wrestler on the Israeli Olympic team, and carrying out background research to accurately portray his story onstage, the author wrote a protagonist and cast of characters for a play based on Pollak’s experiences, called Chosen. This study describes the link between historical research and the process of cre- ating characters for the stage. A person is not merely the facts that his- tory books give, but these facts can be built upon to create a detailed, fully-formed character who is brought to life solely through the words he or she speaks. This is exemplified in the discussion of three specif- ic characters from Chosen—the protagonist and two other major fig- ures in the play. A theatrical character based on a real person will, in final drafts, become the artistic product of the playwright based on the initial research the playwright conducts. The final incarnations of these characters are a mixture of known facts and artistic license.

From the Washington University Undergraduate Research Digest: WUURD, Volume 2, Issue 2, Spring 2007. Published by the Office of Undergraduate Research.

Henry Biggs, Director of Undergraduate Research and Associate Dean in the College of Arts & Sciences; Joy Zalis Kiefer, Undergraduate Research Coordinator, Editor, and Assistant Dean in the College of Arts & Sciences; Kristin Sobotka, Co-editor.


Copyright: All work is copyrighted by the authors and permission to use this work must be granted. The Office of Undergraduate Research can assist in contacting an author.

This document is currently not available here.