Fellows Spotlight is our blog series that invites you to take a behind-the-scenes look at our Fellows program.
We’ll be hearing from all our 2018-2019 Fellows: Jay Adana, Rae Binstock, Zeniba Britt, Erika Dickerson-Despenza, Mathilde Dratwa, Aryanna Garber, Charles Gershman, Nambi E. Kelley, Melissa Li, Benjamin Velez, Kit Yan, and Zack Zadek.
Each of the Fellows/teams were asked the same 5 questions, exploring where these writers have been, are now, and are journeying towards. Our Fellows took this gentle structure and ran, each submitting responses as unique and creative as they are.
This week we are proud to introduce Aryanna Garber.
What was your first experience with theater?
I was seven the first time my parents took me to a Broadway show and I don’t remember a lot about the show but I clearly remember thinking, “I wanna do that when I grow up.”
When did you decide to become a writer? Is there a writer, show, or piece of writing that was particularly influential on your path?
I decided to become a writer after I wrote my first short story. I was about ten and the story was about a magical pony that was also a detective. I’m not sure if the story was any good, but from the moment I started writing it, I knew I was in the right place.
How do you describe your work overall? What sets your work apart?
I love to explore darker issues with a comedic edge. I like to invite the audience to really engage with a topic that may be hard to generally talk about but is brought to live through theater and humor.
Can you tell us a little bit about the work you’ve been developing as a Fellow?
[Benjamin Velez and I are] working on a musical called Borderline about Anna, a girl who gets diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder and struggles to understand what that diagnosis means for every aspect of her life. [We] are trying to navigate both the light and dark side of mental illness in a way that both challenges and invites our audience to understand a full nuanced picture of something often portrayed in the extreme. The fellows program has helped us hone in on the story we want to tell in terms of stakes and character so that we can create the most compelling story possible.
What do you find most rewarding about your work as a writer
I love being able to tell stories that can speak to people who may not have a voice of their own. It’s a powerful thing to create a narrative that aims to interact with its audience, and it’s so rewarding when you can share a piece of your own work and have it engage and impact others.