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Show Some Skin

Maggie Waickman | Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The ever-increasing submissions to ND Confessions prove Notre Dame students are on the search for authenticity. ND Confessions, a Facebook page that allows people to anonymously submit their secrets, has posted over 500 confessions in the past two weeks and claims to have received over 20,000 confessions. Domers have secrets, and we want to share them. The catch: We just don’t want anyone to know they are our secrets.


This past weekend, “Show Some Skin: It’s Complicated” brought a selection of Notre Dame students’ secrets to the stage. This theatrical production consisted of 27 monologues which all revolved around topics of personal identity. Similar to ND Confessions, “Show Some Skin” allows for completely anonymous truth telling. All monologues are anonymously submitted, and other Notre Dame students then perform these monologues.


This year’s production of “Show Some Skin” branched out from the direction of last year’s debut production. Last year’s “Show Some Skin: The Race Monologues” focused solely on topics of race and ethnicity at Notre Dame. This year, the monologues were broadened to any identity-related topic. During one performance, we heard monologues about sexuality, race, class, gender and mental illness to name a few.


It is hard to explain precisely why I loved “Show Some Skin.” The format and timing of the show-two and a half hours of heartfelt, straight-to-the-audience monologues on a Friday night-could be called a recipe for disaster on a college campus.


Perhaps I loved “Show Some Skin” because of the trust I saw in the cast of the production. These people took the secrets seriously. The delivery and staging of each monologue showed that great care was given to how each story would be told. This care and love engendered a feeling of trust within the cast and production team that surrounded the show.


Perhaps I loved “Show Some Skin” because some of the pieces were legitimately brilliant. “Crayola,” a monologue about a gay Asian’s quest to fit in as Asian, as a gay man and as a human, was hilarious. The monologue opens with the author remembering the horrors of attempting to pick a skin-tone color from the Crayola box in kindergarten, going back and forth between tan and peach. This heavy topic, however, was quickly followed by the audience’s laughter. The author remembered a fellow kindergartner observing his tan-crayon skin-tone self-portrait, and this peer asking him, “Did you fall in the mud?” The author recounts how his kindergartner-self snapped back to this white peer, “No, bitch, did you fall in the sour cream?” This monologue continued in this style, altering between heavy secrets and hilarious one-liners.


Perhaps I loved “Show Some Skin” because it wasn’t about the monologues, the cast or the production crew – it was about the Notre Dame community. The production concluded with all cast members coming onto to stage as a small ND Confession-like secret was read, and this scene ended with the cast calling the audience to, “be bold.” It was unclear whether these closing secrets belonged to the actors proclaiming them or if the actors were indeed revealing a small part of themselves to the audience. The beauty, however, was that it didn’t really matter. Maybe we don’t really need the veil of anonymity that ND Confessions and “Show Some Skin” provide because everyone is a little bit complicated.


If you are interested in trying to be a little bit bold yourself, you can attend the post-show discussions on Friday from 6-8 p.m. in the Notre Dame Room of LaFortune.