Voices of BTM XXIII: Sophie McIntosh

Tell us a little about your play.

Ipswich follows a pair of sisters as they examine the effect that one sister’s anxiety disorder—a severe case of aquaphobia—has had on their upbringing and relationship.

What made you want to tell this story?

Irrational anxieties have always fascinated me. Knowing that something cannot hurt you, while simultaneously being unable to fully accept this as the truth, is incredibly difficult to articulate and thus intensely isolating. I’m also interested in analyzing the way that an individual’s mental illness extends beyond them to impact the lives of family members and other people in their circle. Mental illness is never just one person’s problem—it affects us all, and we all need to be willing to help destroying the stigmas surrounding it.

What interests you in the ten-minute format?

This may sound strange, but I find it very freeing to work within restrictions. Knowing that I need to fit all of my action into a particular-sized container liberates me to really home in on the most distilled emotional essence of an idea.

What are the particular challenges to writing for (or adapting to) Zoom? Are there benefits to working in this medium? Were there any surprises along the way? The biggest challenge to creating theatre over Zoom is definitely the loss of physical touch and proximity as storytelling tools. The biggest benefit is the ability to observe every single nuance of the actors’ facial expressions in a way that you might not be able to catch from the tenth row of the theatre (especially if you’re a bit nearsighted like me).

What’s next for you as a playwright (or producer, actor, student, teacher, etc.)?

I’m currently recording my first radio play, The Thought Tapestry, with the help of several of my dear actor friends. I’m also gearing up to apply for my MFA in Playwriting—I’ve got my eye on a few programs and am hoping to be accepted for the fall of 2022!

Don’t miss Ipswich on May 7. Boston Theater Marathon XXIII: Special Zoom Edition continues Monday-Saturday at 12 noon ET through May 28!  More