The company’s show, “What Are You Looking At?” strives to create a discussion about problematic media messages and body image issues across gender and race.
The 90-minute show has been going on every semester since last spring and is appropriately performed during National Eating Disorders Awareness Week this year.
Freshman Sydney Lark, an actress in the show, said she wants the audience to walk out feeling empowered.
“It’s intended to give people media literacy about race, about body image, about men and women,” she said. “To make people aware that any negative body image is because of what society and the media has put out.”
The show is comprised of four different scenes of everyday situations, such as college-aged women shopping at Target and guys working out at the gym.
Despite the routine scenarios, freshman and actress in the piece Cara Pugh called it an action-packed and drama-filled show.
“It’s a really important piece because it brings in a lot of different themes that college students face on a daily basis in an interactive way so that students are interested,” Pugh said.
“It’s exciting and energizing and you leave with a good message of something to talk about afterwards.”
Sophomore Holly Bullis, also an actress, is returning from last semester to perform in the show.
“I really loved the message and everything in the script hit home for me,” she said. “It’s definitely changed the way I view society around me and the way I approach problems about poverty, racism, sexism.”
Like all of Interactive Theatre Carolina’s pieces, there will be facilitators leading the audience in a discussion.
“Before Interactive Theatre Carolina, I never thought about teaching social justice through skits,” Lark said. “The cast and I are all social justice warriors — I think the fact that we are all so passionate about the material is what makes the show so unique.”
Since 2007, Interactive Theatre Carolina has served over 35,000 students and believes that interaction allows audience members to examine and change their own preexisting beliefs.
“How many times do you as a student get to be interactive with a piece of artwork?” Pugh asked. “We want people to leave and never forget that your body is yours and you have the final say what to do with it.”
Senior and Interactive Theatre Carolina member Noah Boyd said he doesn’t want the audience to confuse it with a preachy after-school special.
“We aren’t trying to sugarcoat anything but at the same time we aren’t going to jump out at you with a bunch of expletives,” he said. “It’s just a very real way to look at real problems and show that they are real problems.”