In honor of the debut of Blue Rhapsody, the sequel to Blue World, I have decided to pretend I have a legion of fans who have eagerly waited for me to do a Q&A. If you actually enjoyed reading through the self-indulgent, boringly angsty play that was Blue World, well congrats, here is some long awaited fanservice.
So, is the Blue franchise autobiographical? If so, how much?
The answer is yes, way too much, I guess, haha. It's probably easier to tell you what changed instead of what didn't. Um...in reality, Rosa's name is very similar to her real life counterpart's, though that was completely unintentional. Pretty much every character is supposed to have a place and represent someone who I actually knew, or in some cases, several different people. I hope nobody sues me...
How did you come up with the names for characters?
Rosaline's name was originally going to my go-to, Gabriel Rook, but I got tired of using it and I decided to make her a girl. I chose the name of Rosaline, Romeo Montague's first unrequited obsession, and from there on I modeled Romaine and Julien's names upon Romeo and Juliet. I didn't realize that Rosa's name is the same as her real life counterpart's if you just change one letter, but now it seems like I just lazily feminized him, haha. Romaine is a bit of a weird name so I decided to disguise it with an even weirder, rhyming last name. Mrs. Germaine's name, Lai Di, supposedly means "hoping for a son." Jacques and Julien needed to both have J-names, and Jacques' name is French because well, so is his brother Julien's. At this point I had a lot of J names, so Fabian starts with an F, and Young is the name of a classmate back in middle school who was white, but Fabian is Korean-Chinese and named after Nicholas Young from Kevin Kwan's Crazy Rich Asians series. Mr. Flaherty needed to have an old Irish name so there.
So Rosaline's real life counterpart is really a boy? And you're not a lesbian?
Haha, yeah...sorry to disappoint. In terms of my orientation, I guess I identify somewhere between straight and queer. I think girls are pretty cool. I've wasted plenty of time chasing after boys, I still haven't figured out how I feel towards other genders. Romaine feels the same way, except reversed. She knows she definitely likes girls, but she's not quite sure how she feels around boys.
What would you say Romaine identifies as, then?
Hmmm. I'd say probably closer than lesbian than pansexual. There are certain traits that she will find impossibly attractive, but so far she hasn't felt that much interest towards boys.
So how and why did you come up with the concept for Blue World?
Just like Romaine, I tend to hold onto grudges and negative stuff much longer than is healthy. I wanted to write a one-scene play where various Romaines from different years all get together and rationalize why Rosaline (then Gabriel Rook) rejected her. I thought maybe it could help me finally get over being dumped. Then I decided Romaine would seem too petty without context, so I decided to write in her backstory with Mrs. Germaine and the million other things that made her cling onto Rosaline desperately for some smidge of happiness. Then I realized I'd written an entire play without the scene I'd intended to include in the beginning.
How much of Blue World is related to Romeo and Juliet?
Ehhhh...not really, actually, besides Romaine and Julien and Rosaline's names. Though at one point, Fabian does jokingly call Romaine "Romy-o," a (at least for me) subtle reference to where her name really came from (yes you got me, the cabbage story was just a cover up). There's more connections in Blue Rhapsody, really.
How are you similar and different from Romaine?
Hard to say. Besides the obvious, our dating preferences, I guess Romaine is supposed to be an even more high strung and unpredictable version of me. The one difference that separates us is that she actually has the drive to possibly kill herself. In her case, her unrequited crush and her only support system are the same people, so if she can't confide in one of them she can't confide in anyone.
How real was the scene where Romaine attempted suicide at a crossroads?
I haven't really attempted suicide in that same way but I did consider it during a dark time. I don't really want to elaborate on it but yeah, I've been there. My mother doesn't have a faulty heart (literally, at least) but during the time I made her take me back to Junior Year, she complained that I was causing her blood pressure to increase to the point that she went to bed with her ears pounding. During one occasion where she tried to help me, she tripped over a cement parking marker and scraped her neck and chin. We had to call an ambulance and the next time I saw her, her neck was covered in bandages. Thus, the fact that Mrs. Germaine emotionally abuses her daughter yet will altruistically save her life were all elements that I wanted to keep, to show the complexity of their relationship.
How is your real life relationship with your mother?
I'm glad to report that now we don't live together anymore, it is much healthier and I don't have someone yelling at me for screwing up the small stuff. She even claims she misses me. I enjoy texting her because there's a bunch of fun emojis and GIFs and if I piss her off, she can't punish me for being snarky. She probably still thinks the CPS is some big joke I invented.
How are things with Rosaline's real life counterpart?
Since I said goodbye to him at graduation, I haven't talked to him since, and I'm positive that it's for the better.
I did recount some of my high school memories to a family friend with whom I was staying though. She found Rosaline's counterpart incredibly boring and told me she was rooting for Jacques x Romaine. Later I managed to convince her that Rosaline's counterpart has a sense of humor, and now she changed her mind and is rooting for him.
What did you even like about Rosaline's real life counterpart?
I don't know. I guess he was just my type, and I came upon him in a difficult situation, and I ended up relying on him, and you know the rest.
Can you tell us more about the other characters and their real life counterparts?
I would but I don't know if they would be okay with that, haha.
How do you feel about those people reading this play?
Mh. I'm not trying to get them to, especially not my mom, haha...I kind of like having that separation sometimes.
So what separates Rosaline from her real life counterpart?
Maybe you should start drinking every time I say "real life counterpart." Well, instead of having a morbid sense of humor and a passion for oncology, Rosaline has a mild fascination with fire and getting high on adrenaline and engineering. She also, instead of abhorring it, loves camping. In general, I'm not sure how I'm supposed to write her personality in order to capture what exactly interested me in the original, so I just write her like a really nice but kinda kooky girl. Or just a weird nerd who is pretty but nobody except Romaine is crushing on because of her eccentric mannerisms.
What does Rosaline look like?
Actually I only have a vague idea of what she looks like. I would like to know what she looks like to the readers, really!
Who is the best-looking character?
I'm sure Jacques would say "Myself, of course" but I guess I'm biased when I say Rosaline. Romaine is pretty, too, but in a different way. She's kind of dark and waifish, the way I imagine her, though you're welcome to interpret her as a curvier character given her problems with her weight.
Do you have the same issues as Romaine, regarding her weight and binge eating?
No, not really. I do find myself mindlessly snacking a lot, though, and I have some bad habits like dermatillomania and other body-focused repetitive behaviors. My mom also did kind of enable said eating habits by rewarding me for hard work with chocolate bars and candy. I'm trying my best to improve though. Some earlier versions of the play had Romaine as a smoker or alcoholic, but I decided against those decisions since they didn't seem deceptively innocent enough for her mother to enable them.
Is Mrs. Weaver really as kind-hearted and intelligent as the play version of her?
To me, at least :) But no seriously. Mrs. Weaver's real life counterpart is one of the strongest and most inspiring women I have ever been blessed with the chance to meet. God bless her and praise the Lord for bringing her down onto earth.
Did you really go to a school like St. Jameson?
Yup. I didn't get a rosary, but I did get a necklace after a retreat.
What is the meaning of that rosary Mrs. Weaver gave Romaine?
What is this, Spark Notes? Haha. Um, well. I guess it's supposed to represent Romaine actually realizing she has a support network at St. Jameson, she doesn't just have to rely on her relationship with Rosaline to be happy. It also kinda touches on her barely-there relationship with God, it's hinted that she could consider developing it properly. Something like that.
Why the choice to include "Blue" by Marina and the Diamonds, and "You Make My Dreams Come True" by Hall and Oates? This isn't a musical, right?
No, haha, this isn't Crazy Ex Girlfriend, sadly I don't have Rachel Bloom's lyrical genius. I just thought they'd be a nice touch. "Blue" is the song that inspired the title, and I just like Marina's music overall. Haha, could you tell?
You mentioned Crazy Ex Girlfriend. Is Blue World influenced by it?
To an extent. I only recently started watching CEG, long after Blue World was completed. However, while I was at high school with Rosaline, I came across some of CEG's music videos and some critical analysis of it done by Bagels After Midnight. I would say I relate very much to Rachel Bloom's Rebecca Bunch, and in many ways, the two franchises are somewhat similar. Both coincidentally have somewhat emotionally volatile and mentally unstable female protagonists who, despite their oppressive and overprotective mothers, decide to leave a stable future for a happier one with their past crush. I took CEG as a cautionary tale while I attempted to ask Rosaline out, and even now, I think songs like "Love Kernels" and "You Stupid Bitch" and "Oh My God I Think I Like You" and "It Was A Shit Show" remind me of both protagonists.
What should we look forward to in Blue Rhapsody?
Be sure to leave a review if you have more questions or to check out Blue Rhapsody. Have a nice day!