Playwright Sonya Sobieski sits down with her eleven-year-old daughter to talk about life, theater, and her new play Morning Announcements. Skyler is about to enter sixth grade, and like many persons her age, is incredibly loquacious and forthcoming.
Sonya: Hey, Skyler.
Skyler: I don’t really want to do this, and I’m not going to say anything.
Sonya: C’mon. What are you looking forward to about middle school?
Skyler: Being more organized.
Skyler: ‘Cause I got a lot of stuff.
Sonya: What kind of stuff?
Skyler: School stuff. D&D books.
Sonya: What else?
Sonya: Okay, what are you not looking forward to about middle school?
Sonya: What do you wish school were like that it isn’t?
Skyler: I wish there was more time to actually talk to people.
Sonya: By “people” you mean…?
Skyler: Other kids.
Sonya: So your ideal school experience would be…?
Skyler: Constant playtime.
Sonya: What do you wish that parents knew that they don’t know, or what do you wish they would do that they don’t?
Skyler: I don’t really care about parents.
Sonya: Meaning we could all die and you’d be fine?
Skyler: Other people’s parents. I don’t care what other people’s parents think. I do what I want.
Sonya: But you care what everybody thinks. You won’t sit in an empty section of a restaurant without an okay from the management, even if I say it’s fine.
Skyler: I’m not going to do this anymore.
Skyler: I said no more interview.
(A few minutes later, Sonya tries again.)
Sonya: What do you think about me being a playwright?
Skyler: It’s cool, I guess.
Sonya: I knew you were going to say that.
Sonya: That’s what everyone says. It’s like the nice kids’ version of “I don’t think anything” or “Whatever.”
(Silence. More silence.)
Sonya: You and I see a lot of plays.
Skyler: Yes. Yes, we do.
Sonya: What do you like to see in plays? Should they be very serious?
Skyler: Not particularly, no.
Sonya: So you like plays that are…?
(Here is where Sonya wants Skyler to elaborate that she likes theater to be funny and playful and smart but unpretentious, which is exactly what Sonya likes theater to be and what she thinks Morning Announcements is, but Skyler does not get this psychic message. Or maybe she does and ignores it.)
Skyler: I’m not going to interview anymore. I said it already, and I’m not going to.
Sonya: In my play, the kids don’t like talking to adults. So you’re being just like a character in my play.
Skyler: (Slightly thoughtful silence.)
Sonya: Maybe you are a character in my play.
Sonya: I mean, I did create you.
Skyler: (Doesn’t disagree.)
Sonya: I created you. So you are a character in my play!
Skyler: Okay, fine then.
Sonya: You’re so agreeable.
Skyler: Yes I am.
Sonya: And… you’re really cute.
Skyler: (A strange, plaintive gurgle of dissent, something like:) Nooo-err-ohhh ohhhh-gll-ohhh.
Skyler: Don’t write that down.
Sonya: I’m totally writing it down.
(A couple of seconds pass.)
Skyler: You’re still trying to figure out how to spell it?
Sonya: Yes… This is exactly what playwrights do, all the time.
(Another second passes.)
Skyler: Where’s Dad?
(Skyler exits. And scene.)
Sonya Sobieski (Morning Announcements) was in lots of plays and musicals while growing up in Ohio and New Jersey. She later attended a college in Massachusetts where no boys were allowed. Now she lives in New York City, where everyone is allowed. She is an affiliated artist with Obie Award-winning theater company New Georges and also serves as its New Play Advocate. Her writing can be found in The Brooklyn Rail and several Smith & Kraus collections. She has taught playwriting at Hunter College and the New York University School of Professional Studies.