Presented in a straightforward and unabashed way, social justice theater troupe I Am We Are is bringing the touchy topic of sex to students on campus.
Publicized as, ‘the sex-talk you never had,’ the half-hour long show will feature a variety of skits, monologues, dialogues, poetry and conversations expressing a multitude of emotions. Traditionally, the I Am We Are cast draws from personal experiences or the experiences of close ones.
“It’s been an intense creative process. We began at the end of fall semester until now sharing stories, more or less, and trying to figure out how to shape those stories into something that is accessible to the audience and send some larger messages as to how sex exists on this campus and in our society,” Senior I Am We Are member Alex Christensen said.
The I Am We Are “Sex Show“ will take place Friday, Feb. 15 in Alumni Hall at 7:00 p.m.
“The show is going to be really fun. It’s going to be everything that sex is: awkward, weird, embarassing, fun,” Senior I Am We Are member Dan Burnett said.
The particular subject of sex has been a topic that I Am We Are had been hoping to address fully for quite some time. The group was asked by some administration members to refrain from discussing sex during the first-year orientation performances of E Pluribus. This decision did not sit well with many students, faculty or alumni.
“Basically, the administration felt that sexual assault was already dealt with [by other parts of orientation] and they didn’t want to overwhelm first- years,” Senior I Am We Are member Karla Leitzman said.
From this, I Am We Are created a show discussing experiences with sex. They are striving to strike the balance between discussing the lighter side of sex to specifically addressing the darker, heavier side of sexual assault. For many people, the topic of sex is often still regarded as taboo or uncomfortable to discuss. This stigma, coupled with both reported and unreported sexual assaults that have occurred on campus in recent years, has made the topic more important than ever to discuss.
“Some people had been hurt by the visceral nature and [the emotional intenstity of the show], but we had a really great discussion with JoNes and created a sex show, and one of the major themes of it was the idea of ‘the talk.’ Sex is something we talk about every day. It is something we think about every day. We are bombarded with images of it every day,” Burnett said.
“The element of the show that will come out very early is the notion of ‘the talk,’ when your parents sit you down and discuss sexual experiences in a responsible, appropriate manner,” Christensen said.
“I think that’s a naïve notion because it’s such a different open-ended experience. What we really want to do is expand the discussion. The content of the show is aimed at providing windows into a whole variety of experiences about sex,” Christensen said.
“Many groups on campus are showing support and have an emotional investment in the show. Usually we talk about sex during E Pluribus, but since it has been strictly for first-years, we’re excited to reach out across campus,” Junior I Am We Are member Tristan Fernstrom said.
“I really hope that people will learn things that they didn’t know before and find answers in the pieces that we will do. Hopefully, they’ll find out that they’re not alone,” Fernstrom said.
The Alpha Sigma Tau Sorority, whose philanthropy concerns sexual assault and domestic abuse, will be providing publicity and co-sponsoring the event with I Am We Are.
“We want to reach as many people as possible. I Am We Are has had a great fall semester performing E Pluribus at orientation and for the Board of Trustees. Now we’re headed into the sex show building momentum for Building Bridges,” Leizman, who also serves as Alpha Sigma Tau Philanthropy Committee Chair, said.
“I think that we use theater in a particular way and when we are putting these topics on, it’s happening peer-to-peer and we hear first-hand stories. It’s very intense, but the intensity and difficulty of the subject shouldn’t prevent us from having these discussions,” Senior I Am We Are member Julia Tindell said.