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."
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."