Jahnavi Alyssa on Breaking Binaries

on playing Qfwfq in The Distance of the Moon

Jahnavi Alyssa. Photo: Ashley Thalman, Matt Peterson
Jahnavi Alyssa. Photo: Ashley Thalman, Matt Peterson

On the rehearsal process:
Getting to dive into a world where the laws of physics are totally different with people who not only rejoice and embrace it but are equipped to actually physically explore it, is an exciting and unique opportunity. Creating theatre (as either an artist or an audience member) means manipulating the laws of reality around you and exercising the best part of the human mind — the imagination. I love that innate feeling of possibility that a theater contains, and how it encourages us to think outside of our perspectives.

Jahnavi Alyssa. Photo: Ashley Thalman, Matt Peterson

On playing the role of Qfwfq:
I vacillate on who Qfwfq is. Throughout the play he gets to be omnipotent: an archetype of confidence; a master story teller. But he chooses to show us when he was young, who he was before, and the humanity that carried him through.

On Gender and Attraction:
My other favorite thing about him is that he is androgynous. Really, in my head he is non-binary, using they/them/they’re pronouns. Q moves through all boundaries: starting with the fourth wall between the stage and the audience, then crashing through all the laws of physics in equal measure. The one rule he never figures out a way through — and ultimately (perhaps?) comes to accept — is the rule of unrequited love. It always hurts. It’s always worth it.

On the story:
For me, this story is about the choice to share a story: a memory of something painful and important — it is healed a bit more in the sharing. The journey is about connection and disconnection, absence and presence, push and pull — basically, the forces that connect us and make us, and have put us all in a room together to share things with each other. 
Also, it’s an allegory about the moon, and how beauty can be so much brighter for how it is beheld.


THE DISTANCE OF THE MOON runs through December 22
Tickets and more info at: Sackerson.org