Today we’re joined by Daria. Daria is a phenomenal up and coming playwright. Her first one-act, Marriage Suite, has just premiered and it sounds like it went quite well (Congratulations, Daria!). It’s very apparent from her interview that Daria is incredibly passionate about the theater. It’s clear that this artist has a very bright future ahead of her. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.
Please, tell us about your art.
I’m the proud playwright of a recently finished one act play, Marriage Suite, and a short, ten-minute play. Although I write rather absurdist situations and futuristic settings, my characters and dialogue are written in a style of realism. Sexuality has so far been a large theme of my work, particularly asexuality.
Marriage Suite is set in a dystopian future where, in the wake of a dwindling population, the government controls a very sterile system of coupling. Forced into a situation neither of them ever wanted, a young couple decides to break the rules and faces the subsequent consequences.
What inspires you?
I admit to having a great fondness of the dystopian genre, especially Margaret Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale, which served as a great jumping-off point for my writing. There’s such a lack of representation in the media regarding the asexual community and I wanted to change that when I set out to write this one act. I’m also very invested in exploring aspects of platonic love and the quaint sort of domesticity that harbors affection. The characters in Marriage Suite, who both have their own reasons for deliberately disobeying the rules of their world, have a unique relationship that grows out of that close proximity and accidental intimacy.
Additionally, I’m fortunate enough to be surrounded by a group of very supportive teachers and talented friends who do a lot to enforce my love for storytelling. I have a great circle of friends who will happily read through my drafts and help me through edits. Or they’ll just put up with me talking about my play and that’s just as generous.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
Since as long as I can remember (or as long as I’ve had access to Microsoft Word), I’ve been writing narrative stories. I was a ravenous reader at an early age and really wanted to try to create the magic of reading a story for other people. Still, despite my best efforts, I was never able to finish a piece of my work, despite getting up to 98 pages on a modern sci-fi fantasy piece laden with too much passive voice. At the same time, I had always been interested in theatre. I began my performance career as Dorothy in my elementary school production of the Wizard of Oz and continued from there, interning in professional shows and serving as my high school assistant director. Playwriting was a great way to combine these two passions. Unlike with narrative, I don’t get lost in the flowery descriptions. The media lends itself to reinterpretation which is very exciting to me. I love the idea of creating a set of plans for builders to interpret and refurbish–while also knowing that my writing is the whole reason the play exists once it’s onstage.
Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?
Nothing comes to mind beyond writing asexual characters and perhaps the figurative language I so love to use in my stage directions.
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
Create the art that you wish existed in the world. Create the art you want to see. Being an artist gives you so much autonomy. No longer do you have to simply receive the art that others manifest, you aren’t a passive consumer anymore.
Get out of your comfort zone. Throw yourself into competitions, public readings, open mic nights, etc. Research and familiarize yourself with the event first, naturally, but these things can really push you as an artist. It’s exhilarating, terrifying, and is overwhelmingly reinforcing as an artist. Working in a bubble can get lonely, so it’s a good way to escape that too.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
I identify as asexual. My romantic desire fluctuates indirectly with my sex-repulsion. Some days it’s very high, others I’m unbothered.
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
Not yet, thankfully. I talk about my asexuality openly but rarely bring it up on my own. Further down the road, I worry that any romantic relationships or sexual relationships I write might be called into question because I “don’t know what those are like.” I’m ready for it, though. Love is multifaceted and is hardly just of a romantic or sexual nature. Everyone tends to forget familial love and love between friends, for example. We all have enough experience to write about, asexual or not.
To face day-to-day asexual prejudice, I just made myself a nifty asexual rubber band bracelet and ring. Is it a little cheesy? Do I feel like a middle school girl? Yes. But it’s very empowering. I highly suggest making-buying Ace Pride memorabilia.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
I hate being asked if I’m a plant or if I can perform mitosis. Those aren’t misconceptions necessarily, but I get those questions way too much. People also tend to pity me when they hear of my “condition” which is tied to the misconception that asexuality is like having a missing piece inside you, that we’re broken.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
Reach out to other aces. AVEN is a great community full of people who share so many of your experiences. Hanging out in the chat room or forums helps me realize that I’m far from the only one. We’re widely dispersed throughout the world, but there’s a great online community that’s more than happy to accept you with open arms. Things always seem worse when you suffer through them alone, and in terms of struggling with your asexuality, you just don’t have to be alone.
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
If you’re interested in performing Marriage Suite (runtime of 70 minutes, cast of one female, one male, both between 18-22), please get in touch with me. I will happily send you an in-depth synopsis as well as samples of the script. We can talk about licensing too. As an unpublished startup, I assure you I have excellent rates. There ends my shameless self-plug.
If you’re interested in reading some of my musings, I occasionally use a nifty little WordPress. I’ve written a little bit about playwriting there in addition to fun topics like online dating while ace. I also have a Tumblr account where I wrote one very popular post about the (disturbing) Asexual Discourse™ and then never reached that peak success again.
To contact me, send a PM to sardonicsymphonic on Tumblr. (You can also probably contact the fine mastermind behind Asexual Artists but only use this as a last resort.)
Thank you, Daria, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.