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A new vision of Show Some Skin: 20/20

| Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Last week, Show Some Skin: 20/20 was scheduled to be performed. I had dreamed about this day since my first year at Notre Dame when I first became involved as the stage manager. Even as I sat crying in the lighting booth at the back of the Snite Museum auditorium watching the cast of Show Some Skin: Break the Silence perform, moved to tears by stories that unexpectedly resonated with me, I was so hopeful and excited about the stories we share on our platform. Since my first year, I have encountered almost 500 stories from the Notre Dame community — a community that I value so dearly.

This year, I have had the privilege of being the executive producer for Show Some Skin: 20/20. From the process beginning over a year ago, with the development of this year’s theme, through the Zoom meetings I’ve had with the leadership team, the cast and our faculty mentors, I have been asked to take charge. My leadership style oscillates between enthusiastic rambling and quiet observation, both of which are also my ways of coping with the scary and exciting unknown. It was — and is — an honor to be asked to produce this year’s show and it would not have been possible without all of the people who contributed their time, money and stories, along with their love, joy, tears and sweat to the development of Show Some Skin as it exists today.

We began this year’s Call for Stories with, “They say that hindsight is 20/20.” We had no idea how much would change over the past year. In the past couple of weeks, we watched as Notre Dame and the entire nation began shutting down. I never imagined this would be how I spent the rest of my senior year: at my parents’ home, away from the home and family I had cultivated over the past four years. As the phrase, “social distancing,” began punctuating every conversation, I felt breathless at all of the work the Show Some Skin team has put in: the leadership team at fostering a safe space for vulnerability, our anonymous writers that shared their truths and the cast for moving words from the page to the stage.

However, as I met with the leadership team and the cast, I began hoping: this is not the end, but the beginning of something new. As our assistant executive producer, Theresa, said to our cast, “We didn’t know it, but this is how Show Some Skin: 20/20 was always going to be.”

Over the past week, my excitement exploded as everything that happened over the past year came into focus. Instead of having our first show at Washington Hall, we have plans in the works for presenting these stories over the internet. Physical distance will not stop us from connecting emotionally.

While we are working on a virtual performance of Show Some Skin: 20/20, we want to open up the possibility for you to share your stories. Though we may be away from campus, we are still a community. If you need a space to process your own emotions about the current status of our world, we offer ourselves — over email, social media and our anonymous form — as a safe place for you to do so.

Things may not be the way we expected or hoped they would be. Showing our skin looks extremely different right now. You are far from alone.

Peyton Davis is a senior and can be contacted at [email protected]

Show Some Skin is a student-run initiative committed to giving voice to unspoken narratives about identity and difference. Using the art of storytelling as a catalyst for positive social change across campus, we seek to make Notre Dame a more open and welcoming place for all. If you are interested in breaking the silence and getting involved with Show Some Skin, email [email protected]

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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