[*Editor's note: When Anastacia Tolbert first began 9 Ounces her cast of characters included: Luna, Marie, and Saraphina. However, in March, 2015 a transformation occurred: "One night while trying to coax Marie out, ALICE told me she wanted to take Marie’s place. After much thought I decided ALICE needed permission to presto herself into real life. Marie graciously decided she can make a debut in another project." Enjoy this brief encounter with Marie!]
This week, Anastacia Tolbert shares her experience getting all of her characters together in the same room, and her difficulty with Marie, a particularly changeable character. Watch a video in two parts to hear about Anastacia's work, read an interview with Marie, and learn more about 9 Ounces here.
INTERVIEW WITH MARIE:
Anastacia- Why were you so hesitant to be interviewed?
Marie- Interviews feel so final. They make me nervous. I would much rather do karaoke.
Anastacia- Really? What is your favorite karaoke song?
Marie- Wow too many to name. But… the last karaoke song I performed was Stings English Man in New York. I liked it so much because no one in the place knew me and I was really into it. I even did a little walk on stage. Before I knew it everyone was clapping for me asking me to do another song. I looked for a Nina Simone song and they didn’t have one so I ended up doing Salt –N- Pepa’s Push it. Have you ever tried to push it in an itchy wool sweater?
Anastacia- I take it you are allergic to wool?
Marie- Yes, but it might be all in my head.
Anastacia- What do you mean?
Marie- Wool comes from animals. When I think like, hey this sweater I am wearing was once a goats outer covering…it makes me itch. I start to wonder were the human beings kind to the goat to get this wool? Did the goat come home and everyone in his family cry and say, “OMG where is your body???” I don’t know. I think about things like that.
Anastacia- So…maybe you are not into wearing clothing from animals. Many people are beginning to really pay attention to what they are eating and wearing. Perhaps this is something you are beginning to do?
Marie- I don’t really want to put a label on what I am or am not doing. I’m just saying, it makes me itch. Cotton makes me itch too but I wear it. It makes me itch when I think about the history of it, at least my history with it. I think to myself, wow, how many slaves would it take to create this awesome ass cotton dress I’m wearing? I think about that commercial jingle…”the touch, the feel of cotton, the fabric of our lives…” and then I get all itchy. When I am uncomfortable, things make me itch. Love makes me itch. When I love someone they give me hives.
Anastacia- Tell me more.
Marie- Maybe later. Next time. Love is not something I like to talk about regularly. I really go back and forth between wondering what the fuck love really is. Like fuck love. Love makes me get all potty mouth and cigar. Nothing else makes me feel that way.
Anastacia- But this is an exclusive interview. Talk to me as much about it as you want to.
Marie- Love is like an onion to me. Too many layers. Too much crying. Too much peeling. But then…damn when it’s caramelized. So good. Have you ever had a caramelized love Anastacia?
Anastacia- This is not my interview! This is about you.
Marie- I am itchy. I get uncomfortable when things are about just me. Somehow I think anything about just me, means I am selfish. When I am selfish I want to eat Cheetos.
Anastacia- I’m sorry, I am not laughing at you at all. I know a lot of people that eat Cheetos when they are uncomfortable. You are not alone.
Marie- Hm. Good to know. Cheetos reminds me of the word cheating. Cheating hurts. So it makes no sense that I’d eat a thing that reminds me of pain and it be good. Even the way they are shaped…can’t commit to a full circle or perfect half. Weird. I think about things like that, naked goats, their families and oddly shaped cheating Cheetos.
Anastacia- I like your mind Marie.
Marie– Hm. Good to know. I don’t believe anyone has ever said that to me. I haven’t decided if I like my mind yet. But it’s mine so there’s that.
Anastacia- What is your favorite color?
Marie- Indigo. Oddly enough when I think of Indigo it reminds me of the moon, but the moon isn’t any shade of blue at all.
Anastacia- Marie, you have so much to say—I enjoy talking to you. Can we do this again?
Marie- Hm. Good to know. Maybe.
Anastacia Tolbert is a Cave Canem Fellow, Hedgebrook Alumna, Jack Straw Writer, EDGE Professional Writer, VONA alum, creative writing workshop facilitator, documentarian and playwright. She is writer, co-director, and co-producer of GOTBREAST? Documentary (2007): a documentary about the views of women regarding breast and body image. Lately she’s been obsessed with the body & the stories it holds. Her poetry, fiction & nonfiction have been published widely.