Meet Sofia Tosches! She is the playwright and director of White Elephant, which opens at the Darkhorse Theatre in Nashville this November. Today we’ll learn about Sofia and her journey so far with White Elephant.
Sofia’s Theatre Background and Influences
Sofia grew up in Connecticut and always had an appreciation for the arts. She remembers dancing as a kid as well as attending the theatre with her mom and sister. She developed a love for storytelling through acting, and has branched into directing as well as writing.
Through her work studying at Belmont University and working with the theatre community in Nashville, she has learned a lot about herself as an artist. Sofia appreciates her time working with Actors Bridge and the role models she has collaborated with there. “Between Vali Forrester, CJ Tucker, and Rachel Agee; these have just been women that have really helped guide me professionally and personally and helped me realize what good storytelling and active listening looks like”. Some of these projects include Belmont and Actors Bridge collaboration for the production Men on Boats, as well as Actors Bridge annual productions of The Vagina Monologues. In regards to the Actors Bridge approach, she shares: “It just changes the way you view storytelling when you’re working with people whose main goal is active listening and repetition, which is that Meisner training. I think it totally changes the way you see theatre.”
The Development of White Elephant
Sofia began writing White Elephant while on an apprenticeship contract in Florida. She got a group of apprentices together to read an early version of the script and continued to develop it after this reading. Upon returning to Nashville, she worked on it with Pipeline Collective which provided a helpful workshop space. White Elephant has now had a Zoom staged reading production with a holiday play festival and an in-person staged reading with the Barbershop Theatre here in town. Sofia and her team are so excited to finally bring the fully realized production to the Darkhorse in November!
The tagline for White Elephant is “a comedy until it’s not”. White Elephant tells the story of eight “friends” who work together and have a Christmas party with a white elephant gift exchange. The characters are all in the same millennial age range and Sofia hopes that the audience will be able to relate to them and also see people they know within this story. It was important for Sofia to focus on characters this age because “It’s really hard to find plays out there that really make millennials the essential theme and explore them as actual people”. White Elephant really takes a look at millennials as grown-ups and how they deal with their “stuff”.
Another big theme is the discussion of the LGBT community and race, specifically “what it’s like to misunderstand or be ill-informed about those specific topics and how can we communicate together or not as a group to help progress that forward”. The piece takes a journey through the relationships between these characters, which has moments of comedy and also drama and profound connection.
Local Connections and a Holiday Cocktail Crawl
Something unique that Sofia wanted to do with this work is get patrons connected with local businesses. White Elephant has paired up with The Fable Lounge, E3 Chophouse, and Love & Exile for a holiday cocktail crawl. When you buy your ticket to the show, you’ll receive an email with the secret password to say at these establishments to order the White Elephant inspired holiday drinks curated just for the show! Sofia says “It’s just important to me to bring in local business. Also, I work in the restaurant and hospitality industry, and the characters in the play all work together at a restaurant. So it’s just a little nod to the hospitality industry and something fun to kick off the holiday season.”
Advice for Creating Your Own Work
Sofia has really enjoyed working on this production so far with her team. Her advice to other theatre artists who want to create their own work, especially those who want to self-produce, is to stay organized and plan ahead. She shares: “One of the things that has really helped me is I have been overprepared every step of the way.” This has helped the process go smoothly and ensures that everyone’s time is respected. The process has absolutely been rewarding so far and the team looks forward to sharing this story with an audience.
Get Your Tickets!
It’s been so fun to keep up with the show on social media and see the production develop. I’m excited to see this awesome original work next month!
Make sure you get your tickets to White Elephant at the Darkhorse Theatre November 17-26. Also check out White Elephant’s website and social media for production information and to follow along with the process:
What You Need to Know About the World’s Longest Running Play: The Mousetrap by Agatha Christie