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Saturday December 4th

Me Too Monologues brings real stories to UNC, for students, by students

<p>Performers rehearse for this year's Me Too Monologues, opening on Jan. 23, 2020 at 7 p.m. The monologues will highlight identity and growth. Photo courtesy of David Navalinsky.&nbsp;</p>
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Performers rehearse for this year's Me Too Monologues, opening on Jan. 23, 2020 at 7 p.m. The monologues will highlight identity and growth. Photo courtesy of David Navalinsky. 

UNC student-written and performed stories will highlight identity and growth this weekend during the Me Too Monologues at Joan H. Gillings Center for Dramatic Art.

“It's the life of a student, it's identity, it's everything,” said David Navalinsky, UNC director of undergraduate production.

Me Too Monologues will be performed at 7 p.m. on Jan. 23, 24 and 25. Admission is free for everyone.

The upcoming show will consist of several monologues, such as “A Letter to a Past Something,” “Privileged” and “He Said He Loved Me.” 

“One defining feature is that all of the pieces are written by students,” co-director Parker Jenkins said. “Even though they are all written about different things, they are all close to home because they are all from UNC students.”

The topics range from mental health issues to sexual violence, gender identity, friendships, relationships and various forms of oppression. 

“The beauty of (Me Too Monologues) is that these aren't fiction,” Jenkins said. “All of our stories are very real and true and present.” 

Me Too Monologues started at Duke University in 2009. The show eventually spread to UNC in 2015 after a group of Duke students reached out. Now in its sixth year at UNC, Me Too Monologues allows students to submit a story focusing on the theme of identity in the fall semester. 

Me Too Monologues also holds auditions for actors during the fall semester. A team of directors sits down to cast a team of student actors that will read the monologues of other students at the spring performance.

All the monologues performed at the show are anonymous, as are a majority of the submissions themselves.

“Sometimes it's easier to say things when you don't have your face behind the voice,” Emily Sallade,stage manager, said. 

The anonymity of the event is intentional in order to protect the identity of the students and allow them to share their stories in a safe space, Jenkins said. 

“We're taking real stories from people who may not feel ready to share them yet and giving them a voice in a safe way,” Jenkins said. 

By sharing stories from students for other students, Sallade said the event fosters community on UNC’s large campus.

“It is a feeling of being seen, of being known, that I think is really important in preventing the sense of isolation that a lot of people feel in the current climate of the world,” Sallade said. 

From the perspective of a professor, Navalinsky said the event is eye-opening.

“There’s a lot of empathy,” Navalisnky said. “That makes us better people.”

Navalinsky said Me Too Monologues gives him a better understanding of what is going on in the student community. He said it is a great way for staff members at UNC to connect with their students. 

“All of us have experienced the feeling of being scared to share something that happened to us or being scared to raise your voice,” Jenkins said. “(Me Too Monologues) gives people like that a way to share their story.”

arts@dailytarheel.com

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