Monday, May 16, 2011

I Interview Playwrights Part 352: Sonya Sobieski



Sonya Sobieski

Hometown: Maplewood, New Jersey (by way of Cincinnati , Ohio )

Current Town : New York Fucking City

Q:  What are you working on now?

A:  I just finished a new full-length play, the first since Commedia dell Smartass, which was produced by New Georges in 2005, just before my daughter was born. The daughter part kind of explains the hiatus. I’ve been writing a lot of one-act musicals in the last five years, as the form seems well-served by short spurts of energy. Some of those have coalesced and expanded into The Unfortunate Squirrel, a feel-good musical about the emptiness of modern life, which will have two public readings this month!

Q:  Tell me, if you will, a story from your childhood that explains who you are as a writer or as a person.

A:  I think it was around seventh grade, and a classmate I didn’t know very well asked, “Hey, are you the girl who makes the funny faces?” And my response was to give her a look, like, “Who, me?” I didn’t even realize that I was making a face—and essentially answering her question—until I’d done it. Recently I find myself writing characters who don’t speak, yet they’re always incredibly emotive and interesting. I spent many many years in childhood and young adulthood not knowing the right thing to say, and yet I was desperate to connect with others. It was a constant struggle. Playwriting is probably a way to resolve that—to use all those years of listening in order to create something that cannot be completed without other people.

Q:  If you could change one thing about theater, what would it be?

A:  People would care. And I don’t mean non-theatre people. I mean theatre people. I wish we’d care more about what our peers and our potential peers were doing. I wish we weren’t slaves to The New York Times.

Q:  Who are or were your theatrical heroes?

A:  Mac Wellman, even though he’d be surprised to hear it. Artaud, because he advocated that theatre be big, emotional, and messy. Dan Rothenberg of Pig Iron is a current favorite. Lynn Nottage, because she has the seemingly miraculous ability to write plays that are both hard-hitting and uplifting, and she has a kickass sense of humor.

Q:  Any other influences?

A:  Woody Allen, romantic comedies, desire for the supernatural to be true.

Q:  What kind of theater excites you?

A:  Sleep No More, My Last Play, Confidence Man, Hell House. Ambitious, unusual, site-specific pieces that are experiences, not just literature. The po-mo comic-book/sci-fi/martial-arts mashups of Vampire Cowboys. I mean, I also like a good “play play” like Good People or Kin. Kin felt like a comforting, warm bath. Perfect. But not exciting. Well, the bear scene was exciting. The rest was lovely.
Q:  What advice do you have for playwrights just starting out?

A:  Don’t spend more than two years working in a literary department. If you have profitable skills, consider taking a money job right out of college, make a bundle, and then you can do whatever you want starting in your late twenties, which is plenty young enough. But if you choose to go the internship/day-job route, that’s fine, too. Just write A LOT and don’t listen to critics, external or internal. Have fun and meet people. Be nice to everyone.

Q:  Plugs, please:

A:  Readings of The Unfortunate Squirrel on Friday May 20 @ 9PM (Tada!, 15 W. 28th St. ) and Wednesday May 25 @ 4PM (Ripley-Grier Studios, 520 Eighth Ave. ) Lots of fun and singing. For info and reservations, http://flyingcarpettheatre.com/current-productions/the-unfortunate-squirrel/ I work free-lance as a playwriting mentor, helping individuals develop their scripts and ideas and write at their full potential. Says one of my clients/students: “You get the eye of a literary manager, with the heart of a fellow writer.” Register through NYU http://www.scps.nyu.edu/course-detail/X32.9608/20111/playwriting-tutorial-working-with-a-dramaturg or contact me directly at sonyasobieski at yahoo.

2 comments:

muebles en burgos said...

So, I do not really think this will work.

Ben Morssss said...

It's working just fine for me!