Behind the Fringe – Mobius

Playwright of FringeNYC show Mobius, Michael Lopez-Saenz, answered some questions about his play. PxP: What was your inspiration for this play?

ML: The play started as an assignment in a playwriting class that I was taking at NYU. The assignment was to take an occurrence from your own life that happened within the last couple of days and write a scene around it. The original scene (which appears in this incarnation of the play in a slightly modified form) was built around a young man and his contentious relationship with his mother. From there, the play became a one-act, and then after I finished my graduate school work, the characters cried out to be more fully fleshed out.PxP: Is this your first play? If not, what sets this play apart from the rest?

ML: I have written a couple of other plays, none of which have been produced. This play is very different from my others in the non-chronological aspect. It is also much more lyrical in its use of language.

PxP: What made you decide to include nudity?

ML: The scene in which the nudity occurs is about exposure - literal and figurative. The character Montgomery takes a great risk and in the process is punished for it. Nudity is a risky thing for most people - it makes a lot of people very uncomfortable, and I wanted them to be as uncomfortable as Montgomery is in the face of such open and blatant nudity. I also think that adolescence is a very sexual time; as an adolescent, Montgomery is struggling with his sexuality and it is very much at the front of his mind.

PxP: Is there a specific message you wanted to tell the audience members through the play?

ML: Purely and simply: people and events are not always what they seem; a person is more than the surface of their actions. And there is a great danger to dismissing a person's cries for help.

PxP: Montgomery is a very intellectual kid. What kind of research did you have to do when it came to writing the script for Mobius?

ML: God bless the internet. And the Discovery Channel. And all the books I read as a young man. While I'm no genius, there is a bit of Montgomery in me, and I tend to pick up all sorts of information all over the place. As the play began to take its current shape, I did a lot of specific research on the subject of genius and stumbled across some truly interesting factoids (most interesting to me is that Poe predicted the work of Einstein in his prose poem Eureka).

PxP: What advice do you have for young writers?

ML: It took me several decades to discover this: if you're passionate about your writing, do something with it. No one is going to come to you and ask you to take it off the shelf and get it out there. Especially in these tough artistic times, artists need to be willing to be their own promoters. Submit your work to writing competitions, to festivals, to publications.

Read a review of Mobius here.