At the end of her script, I HATE VALENTINE’S DAY, playwright Sonya Sobieski, offers some thoughtful questions for drama teachers to pose to their student cast. We thought it would be helpful to bring these questions to the front, so theatre directors and teachers could bring them to drama class. If you are working on this new one-act comedy, consider these questions for discussion in rehearsal. If your drama class is studying a classical play, you can adjust these questions for class assignments.
I love a comedy. I love how it tricks you into thinking you aren’t doing any work at all but really, through laughter, you are growing. I HATE VALENTINE’S DAY is so much more than a group of teenage girls feeling burned. This play has us take a deep look at why we celebrate the way we do and gives permission to create new traditions.
Hopefully, your class discussion around these questions brings some laughter and learning. Break a leg!
- TROPE – noun; a figurative or metaphorical use of a word or expression.
- STEREOTYPE – noun; a widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing.
- MEME – noun; an element of a culture or system of behavior that may be considered to be passed from one individual to another by nongenetic means, especially imitation. a humorous image, video, piece of text, etc., that is copied (often with slight variations) and spread rapidly by internet users.
DEUS EX MACHINA – noun; an unexpected power or event saving a seemingly hopeless situation, especially as a contrived plot device in a play or novel.
Questions for Discussion, Group Work, or Essay Assignment:
- Define the word “trope” as it is used in Quinn’s line: “It’s a well-known romantic trope.” Think of other classic tropes of love stories in TV shows, movies, and books. What are your favorites and least favorites, and why?
- What is the difference between a trope and a meme? What is the difference between a trope and a stereotype? Give examples (you can draw from TV, movies, and the internet, as well as books). What are your favorites and least favorites?
- Who was Chaucer, and is there evidence that he invented Valentine’s Day? Can you think of other poets in history whose influence is still felt today?
- Does the Knight serve as a deus ex machina in this play? Why or why not?
About the Play:
I Hate Valentine's Day
By Sonya Sobieski
February 14th is approaching and it’s Nicole’s least favorite day of the year. After all, Valentine’s Day is not only a giant money-making scheme, it also makes people feel bad, it’s couple-centric, and values who you’re with over who you are. Nicole’s friends are determined to find a solution to the candy grams, carnations, and imaginary boyfriends. Perhaps the answer to the madness can be found in…the rainforest? An enlightened comedy about realizing you can’t hurry love.
25-30 minutes. 8-20+ actors (all female or gender flexible) possible.
Also by Sonya Sobieski:
Maria McConville has been a NYC Public School teaching artist since 2005. In the past she has worked with the Theatre Development Fund, LeAP! Onstage, and Periwinkle Theater for Youth, and as a Shakespeare and Playwriting teaching artist with Theatre For A New Audience. Her students have performed and adapted the work of Shakespeare, written their own plays, devised ensemble performance pieces, sang and danced in musical productions, and performed their peers work on a Broadway stage. Maria is also the playwright of #Censored and #Viral (Stage Partners) and other plays.