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Production sparks dialogue

Aubrey Butts | Thursday, February 28, 2013

Loyal Daughters and Sons, a completely student-run production concerned with issues of sexual violence, sexuality, religion and gender at Notre Dame, seeks to enable dialogue, prevent future violence, and create a safe space for healing and hope, senior director Lauren Palomino said.

The show, which runs three nights this weekend, devotes most of its performance time to portraying true stories about sexual violence, but Palomino said it also aims to offer students a comprehensive perspective on sexuality at Notre Dame.

“The show creates a space to present a lot of different viewpoints. I think everyone’s voice needs to be heard,” Palomino said. “It’s always been important for us to tell the stories about sexual violence because those are the most difficult to share. We want people to leave the show though having seen a positive side to sexuality at Notre Dame as well.”

This year’s theme, “I Am Not,” arose from Palomino’s desire both to infuse freshness in the show and address the common belief that only others fall victim to sexual violence, she said.

“No one ever thinks that they will experience sexual violence or that it could happen to someone they love, and it does,” Palomino said. “It’s a terrible reality of being here that we all feel so safe but these events do happen. How do we look at both of these together?”

In preparation for the show, Palomino said she and the writers and actors focus on capturing the authentic voice behind a particular story. They try to avoid insincerity and to respect the courage of students who contributed their experiences to the production.

“When going through the script, we constantly consider how we would feel and how we would present the information,” Palomino said. “We may read these stories a hundred times, but we want it to feel really real when we present it to the audience.”

Palomino said her actors understand the possibility that the person behind their story may be in the audience at any performance, and this awareness helps them prepare for their roles.

“We want to treat every story with respect, and you can’t do an imitation because imitation can turn into caricature,” she said. “We treat the script as we would every other script, so that each actor can bring their own personality to the character.”
Junior Marissa Vos, a three-time LDS actress, said the production holds special significance on campus due to its continual relevance to student life.

“The show has a really special way of touching the audience because everyone on this campus can personally relate to at least one of the scenes,” Vos said. “The cast is given the unique opportunity to give a voice to members of our community who are struggling in silence. This show is a perfect example of how the arts really can change the world.”

Ultimately, Palomino said she hopes the hours of preparation and introspection will demonstrate the serious reality of students’ stories and evoke powerful responses from the audience.

“No one is just a victim. Everyone has a whole life and has a story,” she said. “Everyone will have a story they will connect with. Everyone will have a story that makes them angry. We want people to leave and talk about these stories with their friends.”

Loyal Daughters and Sons will take place this Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in the Carey Auditorium of the Hesburgh Library. Tickets are available at the LaFortune Student Center Box Office.

Contact Aubrey Butts at abutts@nd.edu