Meet the Playwrights: Alix Sobler '17
April 13, 2017
Last Night in Inwood, Current student, Alix Sobler’s thesis play, follows a young woman, Danny, and her family as they seek refuge in her one-bedroom apartment after a major disaster hits Manhattan. As the world outside goes to pieces, Danny tries to keep the peace among the assorted characters gathered in her space. They might make it through this crisis, if they can manage to survive each other.
Last Night in Inwood will run at the Signature Center onMay 11, 12, and 13.
Sobler spoke about her home in Inwood, how the changing political landscape influenced the play, and the challenges of listening to six characters in a scene. Full interview available here.
Can you tell me a little bit about the origin of this play? Where did the idea come from? Did you work on it in class?
This idea came to me over the summer as the U.S. election started heating up. We were watching politics unfold on the national and international stage, but it got me thinking about what these kinds of major political shifts lead to, and then how it affects individuals in their everyday lives. The play takes place inside a one-bedroom apartment and involves a family and their neighbors, but the global politics that have led to their circumstances are well known to all of us. I was also very inspired by my neighborhood in Inwood, New York. It’s a very diverse, friendly neighborhood and in many ways feels outside of the rest of city life. It has a rich, ancient history and one of the only untouched, un-landscaped natural parks in the city. Parts of Inwood are the same as they were pre-contact, and that thrills me endlessly. There is a great mystery nestled in this lesser-known part of New York, and it became an important character in my play.
Who is your mentor? Why did you want them as your mentor?
Lisa Kron is my mentor, and I am so lucky! She is a brilliant writer and theater artist, whose work has long been an inspiration. Way back in my solo performance days, she set the standard in writing and performance. Her brilliant blending of tragedy and hilarity in her work is something to which I aspire. She is also masterful at sculpting a play in ways that reflect the message or question she is posing, and I am hoping to do the same in my work.
What has been most challenging about this process?
This play has been particularly challenging because there are often six characters on stage engaged in conversation at the same time. Creating a work in which they are all represented, heard, developed, and fully realized has been an ongoing challenge. I have embraced the difficulty because I feel that it reflects the challenge facing a lot of us right now, especially those of us on the left. Making sure everyone is heard, respected and considered is essential, but extremely hard. It’s true in real life, and it’s true in playwriting! Hopefully I will emerge better in both arenas.
Last Night in Inwood will run at the Ford Studio at Pershing Square Signature Center on May 11 at 8 pm, May 12 at 2:30 pm, and May 13 at 7:30 pm. Free tickets are available here.
Alix is a writer and performer from New York. Her plays have been workshopped and produced at theaters across North America. Most recently her play The Great Divide opened at the Finborough in London. She is a graduate of Brown University, and will receive her MFA in playwriting from Columbia University in 2017. Find out more about her at alixsobler.com.