Today we’re joined by Rebecca Wittenburg. Rebecca is a wonderful playwright who writes a lot of scripts for local community theaters. She’s currently working on a project that might be a book or a webseries. When she’s not writing plays, Rebecca also writes fanfiction. It’s very obvious that she’s an incredibly passionate writer, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.
Please, tell us about your art.
I am a semi-professional script writer – which basically means that I write plays for theatre communities, but I don’t make enough money to live off it.
My co-writer and I have just finished writing our fourth play together, and we’re working on our next project, which will either become a book or a web-series (depends on whether we can get someone to invest in a web-series).
I’m also currently working on a novel based on the legend of King Arthur, except everyone is explicitly queer.
What inspires you?
Honestly everything can inspire me, but often it’s things like Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones – I am very into the whole medieval thing. Most of my work is either original fantasy work or based on the Icelandic sagas about Viking heroes, so I do draw a lot of inspiration from that as well.
I’m also very interested in depicting sibling relationships, as I’m very close with my two brothers, and I like exploring the relationship between parents and their children when they disagree violently on something, or something tears them apart.
The latest play I’ve written is a fictional re-telling of the story of Harold Bluetooth and Sven Forkbeard (two of Denmark’s first kings, who were father and son), and the civil war they fought against each other because Harold became a Christian while Sven still believed in the Norse gods. What was important in that story, was to keep the focus on Sven and Harold, and make it very clear that neither of them is ‘the bad guy’ – they’re both humans in a very brutal, violent time, and they’re both absolutely sure that they’re right, and above all, they’re family and they love each other.
So, to sum it up, I draw inspiration from ancient legends and myths, from pop culture today, and from my own relationships with the people around me.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
I grew up in a theatre-family and was six years old the first time I had a speaking role in a play. I’ve dreamt about writing plays since I was about seven years old, and my dad wrote his first play.
So basically, my dad got me into theatre and writing, and it turned out I was good at it.
I always knew I didn’t want to have a ‘traditional 9-to-5’ job, and I’ve always had a ton of stories in my head that I needed to tell. So I don’t think I ever had any other choice, to be honest.
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?
I always include at least one, obscure quote from some of Tolkien’s work; the play I wrote last year had a character quoting Gimli from Peter Jackson’s film version (“I have the eyes of a hawk and the ears of a fox.”), and there’s always at least one queer character, even if it’s not explicitly stated in the text.
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
Keep working. Draw and re-draw. Write and re-write. Sing and re-sing. Ok, the last one didn’t make sense, but I hope you know what I mean.
Keep working, keep fighting, keep telling your stories. They’re important.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
The closest to discrimination I’ve faced in my field is probably when I had people tell me that to keep their theatre ‘family-friendly’ I wasn’t allowed to write about explicitly queer characters, which I did anyway, because fuck that honestly.
That’s about the extent of it, thankfully, but that will probably change in the future.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
That it means I can’t ever fall in love. Which is complete bullshit, obviously.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
To not listen to what anyone else has to say about it. I know that’s hard and all – I still struggle with it every day. But trust me, your opinion of yourself is the only one that really matters, and when you realise that (proper realise it, I mean, not just nod along to my opinion), that’s when you’ll be able to accept yourself, and live your best life.
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
I, unfortunately, don’t have a website yet, but you can check out the pictures and resumes of my last three plays at vikingespil.dk (the website is in Danish, but there should be an English version as well). My fanfiction can be found on archiveofourown.org (at ingoldamn).
Thank you, Rebecca, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.