Telling Friends What You Really Thought Of The Show

Sofia Alvarez remembers when her brother-in-law once came back from a friend's art exhibit. 

"I asked how it was, and he just shrugged and said, 'Meh. Friend art.' And I thought, 'Oh my God. That's an amazing coinage. I'm stealing that.'"

Five years later, Friend Art is currently having its world premiere at Second Stage Uptown's McGinn/Cazale Theatre. 

"I was originally interested in that as a comedy concept," says the playwright. "We've all been in situations when you go to a show because you know people involved, not because you think it's going to be a transformative experience or even something you might enjoy. If you live around the arts, it's a pretty universal phenomenon." 

Anabelle  LeMieux in 'Friend Art'

Anabelle  LeMieux in 'Friend Art'

Alvarez started writing scenes based on this premise when she was in in grad school at Juilliard in 2011. But the play – as well as the playwright – have evolved. "It took me a long time to write because I had some living to do," she says. She went from grad school to working on television to working day jobs "like being a nanny and hosting to make money -- and being a playwright on the side. And then to being a full-time professional writer where I was actually making a living from it. I also had to grow up as an artist [and] there was some relationship growing up to do. All that is in the play. I guess it's a play about growing up." 

Meanwhile, the script has grown far beyond the awkward experience of seeing mediocre work. "It became a lot about the role of honesty in friendship and what being honest does to a friendship," Alvarez says. "It's also about learning when you've outgrown your friends and yet not wanting to let go of them."