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Performance sparks diversity dialogue

Charlie Ducey | Thursday, April 4, 2013

This year’s performances of “Show Some Skin: It’s Complicated” aims to spark campus dialogue on normally taboo topics by dramatizing monologues submitted anonymously by members of the Notre Dame community.

These provocative, deeply emotional and often humorous monologues focus on issues of sexuality, race and image, the show’s directors said.

“Show Some Skin: It’s Complicated”  will be performed in the Carey Auditorium in the Hesburgh Library at 7:30 p.m. from Thursday through Saturday.

While “Show Some Skin” is meant to entertain, sophomore Lucas Garcia, an assistant director for the show, said the performances try to impart deeper meeting.  
“‘Show Some Skin’ is a way for students to tell each other their stories,” Garcia said. “Sometimes students don’t feel strong or courageous enough to share all of themselves face to face with other students.”

Director Edithstein Cho, a junior, said this year’s performances show the intersection of individual identities with a special focus on feelings of exclusion. Last year’s show, “The Race Monologues,” centered primarily on racial or ethnic diversity.

“Our production is about community-building,” Cho said. “The underlying framework is to have a place where we can talk about these issues of diversity.”

Aside from issues of race, Garcia said gender, social status, sexuality, mental illness, multi-culturalism and many other categories will be addressed.

“We are focusing on different facets of people’s identities that make them complicated,” Garcia said. “No one is simple. No one is just white, fat, black, gay. We’re complicated. It’s complicated … and that deserves recognition.”

Senior actor Suzann Petrongolo said she sees the importance in recognizing these complexities.

“We can fall into the trap of creating a generalized background. It’s good to bring to light that we all have our individual stories,” she said. “We can look at each other differently with these individual stories brought to light,” she said.

Garcia said the actors themselves, charged with giving a voice to these stories, carefully work to construct their monologues with the author’s feelings in mind.
“The actors must live with their pieces and work very hard to be faithful to the voice inherent in the text,” Garcia said.

 Sophomore acting coach Nicole Sganga said the show transcends the ordinary limits of the stage, beyond a typical dramatic performance.

“‘Show Some Skin’ is not just a performance, it is a real human experience,” she said. “By coming to the performance, students will see a side of the Fighting Irish they have never seen before and gain new perspectives.”

Freshman actor Clarissa Schwab said the opportunity to perform in the show provides a chance to share personal experiences publicly.

“Acting in ‘Show Some Skin’ created a safe place for me to discuss the issues brought up in the monologues, and even our own personal experiences, within a community that is founded upon love and understanding,” she said.

Cho said ‘Show Some Skin’ aims to create a forum for sharing experiences for the entire campus community, opening a dialogue to discuss presumed differences that can actually unite a community.

“Students come because they know this topic doesn’t have a real venue yet,” Cho said. “We want to create this space ourselves.”