Talya Mar grew up bicultural and bilingual in Bloomington, Indiana. She works both on stage and screen, and regularly develops her own work. She previously worked with The Private Theatre on Playing With Fire, and over the past year has been working with TEA Creative on two upcoming projects. // www.talyamar.com
When you think of yourself, what nationality do you most identify with and why is that?
I am American, but I am a new American. I giggled over my father being a green alien as a kid, and always knew that my mother did not speak her parents’ first language. But all of this is part of being American, my American.
How is that identity affirmed or challenged by living in America today?
With an increasingly nationalistic dialogue, it often feels uncomfortable to claim an American identity. The nationalistic claims to a country that was colonized feels antithetical to the only America that I can embrace.
What is your hoped-for future for America? (or, What is your American Dream?)
The dreams I have feel unrealistic. They are the dreams of a new structure of power. Of a power that listens, a power that moves in response. Of a power that knows it is dependent on our planet. Of a power that does not silence, and does not build upon the back of suffering.
What is the most important thing to you personally about being an American?
I do not place very much importance on being American. I cannot deny it has shaped me, and will continue to shape me. But more so, I have been shaped by always existing between worlds. I want an America that makes room for the in-between places.
What do you struggle with in the context of your American identity?
I struggle with the ideal of “American,” I struggle with the conflicting ideas that I am both not American enough, and yet, have all the privileges of a white American upbringing.
What is a challenge you are currently facing (in terms of being an American, or within the context of your American identity)?
I am feeling challenged by the privilege of my citizenship, while also not holding that citizenry in high regard, because I often feel powerless as a citizen.
How do you want to see yourself?
I want to see myself as empowered, generous, and open. I want to be willing to have my mind changed, and also willing to give myself over to things I believe in. I want to be kind in the struggle, and gentle in my strength.