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Company Carolina's winter show challenges gender oppression

<p>Cast member Tori Danielik performs onstage in Carolina Company's blackbox theater in Swain Hall on Monday, Jan. 27, 2020. The Company plans to perform "An Army of Voices," featuring "people who aren’t cis men or people who have been oppressed on the basis of gender," on a rotating repertoire with "The Clinic."</p>
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Cast member Tori Danielik performs onstage in Carolina Company's blackbox theater in Swain Hall on Monday, Jan. 27, 2020. The Company plans to perform "An Army of Voices," featuring "people who aren’t cis men or people who have been oppressed on the basis of gender," on a rotating repertoire with "The Clinic."

For its winter show, Company Carolina asks its audience to listen to silenced voices. 

Company Carolina will perform a rotating repertory consisting of "The Clinic," by New York playwright Will Brumley, and "An Army of Voices," a devised performance of monologues written by the cast members. The shows will be performed starting on Jan. 30 through Feb. 2 in Swain Hall 104.

Audience members are asked to pay what they can on the first two nights, and all proceeds will go to the Orange County Rape Crisis Center and Planned Parenthood. On the next two days, ticket prices range from $6 to $15, and 40% of proceeds will go to the same organizations. 

Co-Directors Hannah Fatool, a sophomore dramatic art major, and McKenna Gramzay, a recent UNC alumna, said the juxtaposition of these two performances aims to highlight subverted narratives and challenge gender stereotypes. 

“There’s no pretense in either one of these shows,” Fatool said. “Even on this very liberal, very open-minded campus, there’s a lot that’s not been addressed.”

"The Clinic" is a play set in an abortion clinic in Wichita, Kansas. It tells the story of the women who work there, narrating the oppression they face and the challenges they overcome. 


Director Hannah Fatool draws a diagram ahead of a rehearsal onstage in Carolina Company's blackbox theater in Swain Hall on Monday, Jan. 27, 2020. The Company plans to perform "An Army of Voices," featuring "people who aren’t cis men or people who have been oppressed on the basis of gender," on a rotating repertoire with "The Clinic."


In early 2019, Brumley made "The Clinic" available without royalties for anyone who wanted to put on a reading of the show to raise money for abortion funds and clinics. The show has been performed over 10 times throughout the country, raising over $11,000. 

"An Army of Voices" is a performance inspired both by "The Clinic" and "The Vagina Monologues" of 1996. The Company Carolina cast members will perform monologues and poems they wrote about their own experiences with gender oppression and sexual assault. 

The performance draws its title from "The Clinic." A scene features women in the clinic singing and the stage directions describe them as "an army of voices," emphasizing the themes of solidarity and perseverance in both shows.


Director McKenna Gramzay prepares to a move a box from the closet in Carolina Company's blackbox theater in Swain Hall on Monday, Jan. 27, 2020. The Company plans to perform "An Army of Voices," featuring "people who aren’t cis men or people who have been oppressed on the basis of gender," on a rotating repertoire with "The Clinic."


“This isn’t a fight that anyone can have by themselves,” Fatool said. “It has to be all of these people in collaboration, sharing their individual stories.”

Frankie Lipscomb-Cobbs, co-producer and cast member, will perform a piece about their experience identifying as nonbinary.

“Oftentimes when we talk about how misogyny affects people, we focus on how it affects women,” Lipscomb-Cobbs said. “But even people who don’t identify as women are still subject to misogyny.”

In addition to their own original works, the cast will perform a few monologues from "The Vagina Monologues" and a poem submitted anonymously by a community member.

"An Army of Voices" intends to complement and amplify the message of "The Clinic," connecting with the audience through personal anecdotes and creating a united front against oppression.

Brumley, who will come from New York to see the show, said he is looking forward to seeing Company Carolina’s reading of "The Clinic" but is even more excited to see "An Army of Voices." 

“It’s really exciting that there’s a group of students who have taken it upon themselves to create something in their own voices related to what’s going on right now,” Brumley said. 

Company Carolina originally intended to perform "The Clinic" and "An Army of Voices" as one performance, but they split the shows into a rotating repertory so they could develop the monologues to their full potential. 

“At the end of the day, we’re all fighting the same battle,” Gramzay said. “It’s all about supporting one another through those kinds of struggles that we all sometimes quietly face.” 

@lizcj00

arts@dailytarheel.com

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