“Don’t wait for opportunities to come to you. Make your own opportunities and surround yourself with people you love and trust that believe in you and your work as much as you do.”Liana Sonenclar, NYU Tisch at Strasberg alumna
Before This New Year, an original play by Liana Sonenclar, has been on the fast track for success. Sonenclar’s play found its roots at Tisch, where a small reading featuring several Strasberg students turned into a reading at the Ivy Theatre Company’s 24 Hours of Women festival. That snowballed into being presented at Out of the Box Theatrics’ Building the Box series and a reading at the Dramatists Guild Foundation. This past November, Before This New Year was performed at the Jerry Orbach Theatre for industry professionals, and Sonenclar’s play featured current NYU Tisch at Strasberg student Julesy Flavelle.
“Knowing who I am, what I’ve been through, and learning how to put my full self into my work has been one of the biggest lessons in becoming a better actor,” Sonenclar says of her time at Strasberg. She goes on to speak of how Strasberg allowed her to become more present and grounded whilst acting and to work off of what your scene partner is giving you. Training in the Method and awakening her instrument were vital in the process of honing her skills as a writer and tapping into more authentic modes of storytelling. “Everyone asks me if the character’s journey is an autobiographical story, which it’s not,” Sonenclar asserts. She does, however, acquiesce to the fact that certain scenarios her character finds herself in overlap with her real life experiences
“The first time I ever heard the play out loud is still one of my favorite memories,” Sonenclar says. After hearing several of her NYU colleagues read her play aloud, she realized that the prospect of producing the play was entirely realistic. Before This New Year follows high school track star Alison Bennett after she returns home from her first semester of college. Being away from home has caused Alison to reconsider her life path, and Sonenclar’s play follows her journey as she explores what it means to come of age in a modern world filled with pressure.
Liana Sonenclar recently finished writing a film adaptation of Before This New Year, though slight changes will likely lead to a different title for her work. She earned her SAG card this past summer after being featured on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and recently signed with a literary agent. Her second full length play was recently finished and will hopefully be produced soon. “Don’t wait for opportunities to come to you,” she says. “Make your own opportunities and surround yourself with people you love and trust that believe in you and your work as much as you do.”
Liana Sonenclar can be found online at http://www.lianasonenclar.com.
Alumni News is written by NYU Tisch at Strasberg alumnus Will Brockman.
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