A Neo-Vagina Monologue
by Aster Aguilar

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As she tries to save money for bottom surgery, Sophie, a mid-20s trans woman, tries sex work for the first time.




Aster Aguilar (she/her) is a playwright from Wilbraham, Massachusetts — which is unfortunately more similar to Connecticut than Boston. Her plays include A Neo-Vagina Monologue (Yale Cabaret, Nick Chapel Theater) and TRANSUBSTANTIATION (Yale Playwright’s Festival). She has been supported by the Solomon Fellowship for LGBT Studies and a Silliman Creative and Performing Arts Award. BA: Yale University. Letterboxd: aster_oid.




When did you start writing plays? If you had a moment where you realized you wanted to write, what was it?

My fifth grade teacher used to have us do a writing exercise where we would pick a New Yorker cover and write a story about it, and I think somewhere in that year is when I fell in love with storytelling. Funnily enough, I actually forayed into plays my freshman year of high school, and I was so bad at it I refused to pick it up again until my sophomore year of college. The class was with MJ Kaufman, and I took it on a whim because it was the only course that semester that was about trans people. But I found that playwriting made a lot more sense to me than fiction, and I’ve been obsessed with it ever since.


How did you come to write your OOB play? Was there a particular inspiration behind its creation? How has it developed?

Like every woman in her early to mid 20s, I have a soul connection with Fleabag. Something about the register shift Waller-Bridge is able to capture, the hairpin snap from comedy to deep sadness, was something I became really interested in emulating. From a practical standpoint, I want to write about trans women, and oftentimes the only trans woman I have at my disposal is myself! So setting this as a one-person play became partially out of necessity, but has allowed me to engage with this piece from a variety of angles: as a writer, as a listener, as an actor.


What are five words that describe who you are as a playwright?

Trans (duh), honest, confrontational, eclectic, expanding.


What/who are some of the major influences on your writing?

I’ll restate the impact that MJ Kaufman had on me as a scared little trans girl, and the Methuen Trans Anthology that we used as our textbook. Beyond that, Madeleine Olnek taught me what a “beat” was, Deb Margolin trained me in automatic writing and also just being an open, enthusiastic learner and Branden Jacob-Jenkins made me realize how many more plays there are to love. Movie-wise, I’m a huge fan of Wes Anderson and Greta Gerwig.


What’s one fact someone would never guess about you?

Assuming that I do not give off a band kid vibe, I used to play French horn all through high school!


What are some of your favorite plays?

If we were to do a top 4 from Letterboxd, but play style, I would have to say Burgerz by Travis Alabanza, Angels in America: Millenium Approaches by Tony Kushner, Dance Nation by Clare Barron, and Circle Mirror Transformation by Annie Baker.


Any new projects you’re working on or shameless plugs?

Well, first and foremost, my current project is finding a job (hopefully in TV! please hire me!). But otherwise I’m really just trying out everything. I’m tinkering with this fun piece called The Electrolysis Play, which is about how painful electrolysis is. I’m also trying my hand at screenplays with an adaptation of a play of mine called After Care; a family drama about a trans woman recovering from bottom surgery with her mother and her sister. And, of course, I’m trying to eat my vegetables and read the Greeks and Shakespeare, all in service of enjoying my freedom before I decide I want to go back to school.

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