Sana Hashmat is a writer based in New Brunswick working towards a degree in biology. She has been a part of the NotaBle Acts Playwriting Incubator over the past year and made her festival debut last year with her script, Ill-Advised Capital. Sana is back once again with her latest script, A Toast to Happiness.
Welcome back Sana! Can you bring our audience up to speed on your NotaBle Acts history?
I debuted last year at NotaBle Acts with my play Ill-Advised Capital which was a part of the Play Out Loud: Reading of New Plays in Development series. It was a very exciting experience, although I assume it will be distinctly different from my current play in terms of the actors acting out the actions and not reading from a script.
How does it feel to be involved with this year’s festival?
I love being part of a community of playwrights and actors who are passionate about their craft. I always learn something new just from talking to them and honing in insight into their individual personalities and mental landscapes. Even the audience serves their purpose by taking something from our local artistry and carrying it with them wherever they go.
If you had to describe your play in one minute or less, how would you pitch A Toast to Happiness to a potential audience member?
Imagine you’re getting married. It’s the happiest moment of your life. But wait, this is it? Panic. Anxiety. Fear. Things you want to talk about but you can’t over coffee. Nobody understands. But how can’t they understand this universal experience? Is it universal? Ad nauseum. You’re allowed to be scared, anxious, sardonic, but in the end, that happiness you’re trying to find, maybe you’ll start here in this one play.
What was your inspiration for writing this play?
I was watching a video and it was a short script that looped. I was obsessed with the looping script concept so I started from there. We all have recurring thoughts, usually based on fear and anxiety. What’s one that’s practically universal? Happiness. And when are you usually the happiest? At your own wedding, marrying the love of your life (hopefully). And there, I scribbled the script down and the rest is history.
Could you comment on the important role NotaBle Acts plays in supporting new and emerging writers like yourself?
NotaBle Acts brings a sense of intimacy among playwrights and actors alike. I’ve always admired that in New Brunswick, we have individuals who contribute such diverse perspectives and thoughts that translate into art that can be admired and preserved. I’m always enthused to see engagement from everyone involved and building a sense of comradery amongst the talent I meet.
Sana’s play A Toast to Happiness will be one of two plays featured in this year’s Site-Specific series of pay-what-you-can outdoor performances. Catch a performance July 24-27 beginning near the Beaverbrook Art Gallery Courtyard at 8:30 p.m.
A Toast to Happiness by Sana Hashmat | Directed by Scott Harris | Featuring Jason Crow and Landon Hachey.