Coat Pocket: An Interview With the Playwright

The workshopping and rehearsals for UVU’s 2020 Short Attention Span Theater are going swimmingly and has me very excited for the finished products, coming quite soon in April. To get some insight on the innerworkings of the scripts, I asked one of the playwrights, Sonja Hugo, who wrote the piece Coat Pocket, about the process, her thoughts on her script, and about the experience of SAST so far. Here are her responses to those questions:

What inspired your script?

"I have the habit of writing stream of consciousness poetry in the
notes app of my phones as I'm on the bus or train. No editing as I go, no planning just letting something come into existence. One day I sat down and wrote the poem that is now Rosemary's smoking soliloquy with the ghost. It was the seed and the script just sort of organically branched out from there."


What made you want to submit your scrip to SAST?

"For the past year or so, any writing I have done has been leisurely and for myself. I've missed having an end goal or product insight and partners in crime. SAST felt like just the perfect opportunity to do something I love and create something with others."


How has your script changed while working on it in SAST?

"My script went through several reiterations, but most surprisingly it evolved back around to just a handful of variations to the original script I submitted. I had so many doubts, but to circle back around and fall in love with the first draft I wrote and recognize that that was the story that it was supposed to be was so validating. Gut instincts and impulses are such a great tool for artists., I'm on my way to listening to my own."


Is this your first time writing a script? if not, what other sorts of things have you written?

"Similar to SAST, my alma mater, Tuacahn Highschool for the Performing Arts, holds a BLAST 24 hour 10-minute play festival all student-created; directed, written and teched. Writers had from 7 pm when given an envelope with their actor's headshots, play title and other prompts, till 7 am the next day to write a 10-minute script. For the 3 years I went to Tuacahn I was one of the writers pulling an all-nighter in hopes of creating something. But being able to explore other possibilities within a narrative and make alterations has been such a different experience."


How has your experience with SAST been so far?

"This has been such an opportunity for growth. I know that all my own doubts won't go away but I'm feeling so much more capable and confident in my abilities than before. Seeing characters and relationships, and hearing words that have only previously existed in your head, suddenly be in front of your own eyes is so incredibly satisfying. These words once only belonged to you but to hand them over to your actors, director and team is a bit daunting but also so liberating. Not just mine anymore but ours! I can't wait to see it on stage!"


I look Forward to seeing Sonja’s work come to life on stage, and getting to see the changes it has made since day 1! Expect lovely well crafted stories, inspiring actors, and an extremely fun experience at Short Attention Span Theatre come April!