Playwright to Speak on NYC Theater Scene
Scenes from Commedia del Smartass
When award-winning playwright
Sonya Sobieski ’91 visits campus this week to give a workshop
in playwriting, she will have a chance to attend a production
of her comedy Commedia
del Smartass, presented by Ellen Morbyrne ’09J.
Morbyrne (formerly Ellen
Morf) and her husband Dan Morbyrne (formerly Dan Barnes)
are teaming up to direct Sobieski’s
play at the East Street Studios in Hadley. The production
will run March 7 through 9, and again
March 14 and 15. Show times are 8 p.m.
Fridays & Saturdays, 2 p.m. Saturdays, and 2 p.m. Sunday,
Commedia del Smartass follows
four high school juniors as they navigate the winding paths
of young love and heartbreak while dealing with teenage realities
surrounding peer pressure, drugs and sexuality. “Commedia
del Smartass is
a tragic-comic exploration of youth, love, and what it means
to be human,” according to a press release from the
Serious Play! New Directors Series 2008, which is sponsoring
the production. “How do we define ourselves and how
do we permit ourselves to be defined?”
The Morbyrnes will direct an
ensemble of characters dancing, falling and leaping about
the stage in a choreographed tangle designed by Alberto Peart.
Audience members will be invited to join in.
Following a 2005 off-Broadway
production of the play in New York City, Commedia del
Smartass was lauded by Village
Voice and New York Magazine.
It was then that Sobieski sent the play to Len Berkman, Anne
Hesseltine Hoyt Professor of Theatre, with whom she studied
while at Smith. Berkman produced a reading of the play with
Morbyrne in the lead role.
Sobieski, who teaches
playwriting at the New York University School of Continuing
and Professional Studies, is a winner of numerous playwriting
awards. She will visit Smith on Saturday, March 8, to offer
a two-part workshop in the Mendenhall Center Green Room.
At 10:30 a.m., she will speak on “Life
After Smith: NYC Theatre Demystified,” a discussion
of internships, jobs and theater, open to the Smith community.
At 11:30 a.m., she will lead a workshop for playwrights in
the Five College region.
Sobieski worked in the literary department of the off-Broadway
theater Playwrights Horizons for nearly a decade. She is
an affiliated artist with the Obie Award-winning New Georges,
which commissioned and first produced Commedia del Smartass. Her
first full-length project won a Best in Fringe Award for
excellence in playwriting at the New York International Fringe
Festival. Her work has also been produced by Clubbed Thumb,
Vital Theatre, Prospect Theater Company, adobe theater company,
Tickets for Commedia del Smartass at
the East Street Studios, 47 East Street (off Route 9) in
Hadley, are $12 general, $5 students & seniors. Call
413-584-5535 to reserve. For more information call 413-586-0647.