Featured Artist of the Month: June 2019


Using Humor to Heal

Diana Varco is a LA based actress, comedian, writer and storyteller, who is currently starring in her own one-woman show, Shattered, a dark comedy about dating, dysfunction, and sexual devastation — told through the voices of 35+ characters.

Q. When did you start acting and how/when did you know you wanted to be an actress?

A. Acting is something I've always done! My mother told me that I was in shows at the local library when I was 3! I did plays all through out adolescence and went to Boston University to study acting in the School of Fine Arts. It was at BU that hints of the story I share in Shattered started to emerge and I didn't know how to deal with the feelings — so I left acting and decided to pursue a general ed degree instead. It wasn't until I left acting that I realized it was part of my identity and that the stage is where I feel most alive. 

Q. Which artists most inspired you when you were growing up and who do you admire today?

A. I LOVED Carol Burnett growing up! I just loved her and the Golden Girls —Betty White especially and Estelle Getty. I'm still quite a fan of them. Today, I admire a number of female comedians that create their own work and are powerhouses for the female voice. I also admire and am grateful to women who have used their star power to move the conversation forward on sexual trauma and sex trafficking, domestic violence, racial disparity and injustice, LGBTQ rights, reproductive rights and access to safe healthcare — there's so much and too many names to list. 

3. Have you try different styles of acting or performance and which do you enjoy most?

A. Yes, growing up I did dramas and musicals but, as an adult, I've mainly stuck to comedy. Once I got to LA, I focused on improv and sketch, which soon led me to stand-up and that eventually led me to solo theatre. My solo show style of quick character changes was something birthed in improv and later in my stand-up. The character of Self-Respect comes from a stand-up bit that I've done and the character of Shame comes from another bit as well! 

Q. What was the process like for writing your one-woman show, Shattered? How long did it take to write, did you have a coach or any guidance along the way?

A. I met with Jessica Lynn Johnson, my Director and solo show development coach, on November 8, 2016 (election day) and premiered the show January 25, 2017. It was A LOT of work to do in a short amount of time but somehow magically came together. I had no idea how I was going to tell the story and was really nervous about it — but then one day, the idea came to me to tell the story from the fractured pieces of my mind. From there the story unfolded rapidly, and Jessica sculpted it beautifully on stage. However, I still work on deepening the characters and enhancing the specificity of the story. 

Q. The play is deeply personal — were you ever nervous about exposing so much of yourself to strangers, or even to friends/family?

A. Definitely! I still am! Unfortunately, I've not been able to open the show up to close family, with the exception of my sister. I'm always nervous about how people will receive the show, but I also hold onto the importance of exposing the story and the people I might be able to help in doing so. I never wanted to tell this story, but it wanted to be told — so I honor that. 

Q. What do you like most and least about performing it now? Does it change at all with each performance?

A. What I like least is the energy it takes to do the show! Wow, I had no idea how much stamina solo theatre requires! What I love is the character work. The characters are so fun to play and, although the story is difficult, I'm so grateful that — through them — I'm able to look at the trauma in a different way. It's been really cathartic for me. 

Q. What do you hope people may think, feel or do after they have seen the show?

A. I put my journey into story with Shattered to raise awareness about the psychological impact of sexual assault and to help people feel not as alone. I hope that Shattered encourages people to seek their own healing, whatever they've been through. The show was written at a time when rape was a common punch-line in comedy. I want to change that conversation. I want to use comedy to raise awareness about sexual assault, rather than reinforce the rape culture that encourages it. 

Q. What is involved in bringing the show to the Edinburgh Fringe festival and how can we help you do so?

A. Edinburgh is a dream of mine! I will be performing the show every day at 2:45pm from July 31–August 26 (not Aug 13 or 20) at the Gilded Balloon Teviot Balcony. Living and performing in Edinburgh is quite expensive, so I've launched a Kickstarter campaign (www.supportshattered.com) to help support the costs! Financially, it is a huge undertaking, so contributions to the show are best. However, knowing that the show helps people is really, really important to me — it keeps me going with this work! So reaching out, shout outs and general support is always welcome. 


If you live in LA, you can have the pleasure of seeing Shattered at the Lyric Hyperion theater THIS SUNDAY June 16th! This is truly a phenomenal show — and I'm not just saying that because Diana is my friend ;) Even more than a play about sexual assault, it's a play about the struggles we ALL go through in life (even men), and I left feeling a bit less alone in the world. Just get tickets here and GO SEE IT!

You can also see clips of the show here and testimonials here.

If you’re not in LA, or you just want a good laugh, take a look at her Youtube series, Riding Buddies, here.