FIRST AND LAST NAME
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WHO ARE THE MAIN CHARACTERS?
Assim – Priya’s twin brother. He is a senior in high school and parties a lot. He keeps to himself for the most part at home and doesn’t share his feelings. His secrecy can came off as being secretive but he sees it as his own form of independence. He cares for his family a lot but often blames the distance between everyone on his parents. He has a borderline dependency on marijuana, and uses it as a distraction. He is a jokester and is known for being mischievous, or a “trouble maker”. He is 17.
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WHAT THEMES DO YOU EXPLORE IN THE STORY?
“SHARUM” explores shame and the ways it manifests within Muslim communities. Shame manifests in ways beyond the jeering eyes of gossiping folks at the mosque. It can be internal, external, presented as protection, concern, and sometimes love. Muslims are constantly forced to navigate life and identity though shame from both Islamophobia as well as community stigma that comes with their other intersecting identities. SHARUM not only addresses various perspectives of what it means to be Muslim, but how there isn’t a “right” way to do right by those around you.
HOW ARE YOU AN UNDERREPRESENTED VOICE?
As a queer, Muslim Indonesian woman, I do not see all of my intersections represented in mainstream media. Indonesians are not represented at all unless it’s through an obscure sensational headline or as an ethnically ambiguous action star. While Muslim representation has improved drastically over the years, Muslim Americans are often presented as either Muslim without additional intersections or intersectional Muslims who have rejected Islam almost entirely, especially in the context of being both queer and Muslim. As an underrepresented voice, I not only want to showcase and represent these intersections, but the uncertainty that comes with navigating them.
Dena Igusti is an Indonesian-Muslim poet and playwright based in Queens, NYC. She is currently the co-founder of Short Line Review and collective UNCOMMON;YOU. She is a 2018 NYC Youth Poet Laureate Ambassador, and 2017 Urban Word Federal Hall Fellow. She is a 2018 Works on Water resident and is currently a 2019 Players Theatre Self-Production resident for her co-written Off-Broadway play ‘Sharum’. Her work has been featured in BOAAT Press, The Shanghai Literary Review, and more. She has performed at The Apollo Theater, The Brooklyn Museum, The 2018 Teen Vogue Summit, and more. You can find more of her at denaigusti.wordpress.com.