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Me Too Monologues act out student experiences

Christian Payne, a senior dramatic arts and English major, performs "Just Friends" during the UNC-Duke collaboration, the Me Too Monologues.

Christian Payne, a senior dramatic arts and English major, performs "Just Friends" during the UNC-Duke collaboration, the Me Too Monologues.

That’s exactly what UNC students in LAB! Theatre and Kenan Theatre Company’s 2017 production of the “Me Too Monologues” are hoping to achieve.

The show, which started at UNC in 2015, features stories centered around a theme of identity. The monologues are written by UNC students who remain anonymous and performed by actors on stage.

Chrissy Garwood, senior environmental studies major and production director, said the point of the play is all in the title.

“I think that it’s important to give these stories a forum because a lot of the stories we get are stories that one wouldn’t really tell on their own,” Garwood said. “Not only to the author, to share their stories, but we get to see the community reflected on the stage.”

She said she’s excited to see the public’s reaction, and the way the stories can help people with their own lives.

“We have a lot of submissions this year that were about mental health,” Garwood said. “It’s really nice to be able to share some stories that aren’t the nicest stories, but are definitely ones that need to be told.”

There’s also a discussion after each performance, during which the audience can ask questions, called “talkback.”

“It gives the public a forum to put their own input into what we’ve done,” Garwood said.

Adair Tompkins, a first-year global studies major and performer, said especially with the current social climate in our country, it’s nice to have open and honest discussions and give voice to marginalized people.

“Even though they were written almost a year ago now, I think it’s all the more important, now,” she said. “These stories are being told because they’re definitely the kinds of voices that our current regime is looking to silence.”

Tompkins, like Garwood, said she’s looking forward to people’s reactions.

“I’m most excited about seeing how people really relate and connect to the monologues,” she said. “I think it’ll be nice to see a emotional reaction to them.”

Jordan Skinner, junior drama major and another performer, said it was a challenge for her to make sure she was portraying her role in a way that honored the writer of the monologue.

“I was really nervous at first because I wasn’t just embodying a character that somebody wrote,” she said, “I was embodying a character that came from a real person.”

The Me Too Monologues will be showing for three nights, Feb. 2 to Feb. 4, at 8 p.m., at the Elizabeth Price Kenan Theatre. The talkbacks will follow each performance.

It’s entirely performed, produced and directed by UNC students — which Ariana Rivens, producer and junior psychology major, said makes it unique.

“It’s like life is imitating art, or backwards, like art is imitating life.”


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