Rogue Players: Tell us a character description for your real-life self.
Angel Zeas: Gosh, I was really aiming to start the first question off strong. I’ve always had a hard time describing myself. Too self-loving and I sound pretentious, too self-deprecating and I sound like I need a good therapy session…I guess I would say:
“Angel Zeas – If sloths were able to swear.”
RP: What started you off to write Sol Town?
AZ: Like most things, a stress dream. It was the day before I started my final year of college and I knew going in that my thesis would be a play, but I had no idea what that meant in practice. I then had this awfully vivid dream of a woman wrapped in bandages with an inhuman glow in the middle of a dark abyss. In the distance, a drop of water began to fall in slow motion and the woman reached desperately for it but I knew, in that dreaming way of knowing, that it was all in vain. She would die. So…I woke up, really disturbed for my psyche, but really excited I had something to write about. After some fiddling about with different free writes and writing prompts I had the concept for Sol Town!
RP: What has changed most for you over the whole arc of working on this project?
AZ: I think I’m a little more fearless in my writing because of this process. I have a huge fear of being misunderstood for a variety of reasons. Sharing my work and having it be so taken care of has kind of revitalized my love of writing if I’m honest.
RP: The world of Sol Town is evocative and immersive. How did you begin to build this universe?
AZ: I wish I had a better answer to this. The truth is that it naturally found itself during a writing exercise. The name, the idea of it being a desert town, all of that happened in the same thirty minutes and that free write was an opening monologue the character Amaya had in an older version of the play. The name, Sol Town was even originally a place holder, but I said it so much that I grew to love it. Yeah sorry kids, sometimes writing doesn’t have poetic strokes of genius sometimes it’s beautifully random. I will say that I knew early on that if I was incorporating “magic” or “witches” into the story I wanted it to be tastefully rooted in something other than Wicca, or American Horror Story: Coven episodes…though, nothing wrong with that. I had just come off of being a religious anthropology major (I know right?) So my head was filled with a whole host of different mythologies to draw from. There are a lot of references to the orisha in the play. They are powerful entities from the cosmology of the Yoruba people and many other afro-diasporic religious traditions. There are references to some Hopi mythology. It’s pretty eclectic but that’s by design I was intentionally trying to build a mythology that centered on oppressed peoples, the play is about cultural resilience and resistance in many ways and who better to look to?
RP: What is your relationship to humor as a writer?
AZ: I find humor to be absolutely vital. All of my writing incorporates humor. Sol Town has a lot of humor. I think it’s honest. I’m of the mind that it is a little disingenuous
to genre-fy writing. Saying, “This is a drama piece so it’s all drama, this is the comedy piece so it’s all a farce. etc.” That isn’t how life works! Sometimes you can lose all your money, lose your job, hate your body, and somehow find the funniest meme you’ll ever see in your life all in the same moment. I think very simply tragedy makes comedy, and comedy makes tragedy. You can’t really separate them. That’s the kind of writing I want to do. Also, any connection that previous example had to my real life is purely coincidental, I promise…
RP: What person, living, dead, or fictional, who wouldn’t ordinarily be able to come to your show, would you want to see sitting in the audience?
AZ: This is probably a long list, I think my gut reaction is Octavia Butler. Her writing is majorly influential to me as an artist so I would love to get my work torn to pieces by Octavia. Oh and Shonda Rhimes. Shonda is career goals, so the sooner she gets to see my work and I can work for her the better!
RP: If I was on a subway platform, and you’re on a train actually running correctly, and I asked you about Sol Town, what would you tell me before the doors closed?
AZ: It’s a Post-American Fantasy! There’s witches of color! (get home safe!)
RP: What’s your website, or twitter, or instagram, or facebook, or best way for people to follow your work?
AZ: I currently don’t have a website because I am a Bad Artist™ but if people want to follow my Instagram to see not only more of my work but also my amazing baked goods that would be, @martianlooks. If someone feels inclined to teach me how to make a website that’s also an option!