Students raise their Inner Voices

By Bonnie Stiernberg

It’s Crayola’s worst nightmare – a box of crayons must grapple with the fact that they are all different colors. Some crayons embrace the differences while others wish to associate themselves only with matching colors.

This is not some sort of bizarre dream. It is one of the many scenarios that will be presented by the Inner Voices Social Issues Theatre at their upcoming performances on race and ethnicity.

The group will be performing on Oct. 12 at the Armory Free Theatre, located in room 160 of the Armory.

The performance will consist of three short plays and a spoken-word piece. It is expected to run about 50 minutes and is free.

Although the performance deals with serious issues, it is not intended to preach to students, said J.W. Morrissette, assistant program coordinator of Inner Voices.

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“Inner Voices isn’t interested in saying ‘This is the right way or wrong way to look at things,'” he said. “We’re interested in creating a civic dialogue.”

Following the performance, students in the Theatre 417 class will hold a facilitated discussion called “Talk Back.”

“It’s a chance to take a look at other people’s perspectives,” Morrissette said.

The Inner Voices program consists of theatre students enrolled in either Theatre 417, 418 or 400M. It is sponsored by the McKinley Health Center, the Department of Theatre and the Counseling Center.

The scripts are reviewed by Dr. Rakhi Sen, a clinical counselor who provides comments and offers insight into how the audience may react.

Sen stressed that the show does not oversimplify its topic.

“The show tries not to make the issue of racism simplistic,” she said. “It addresses the issue from a variety of different viewpoints. It helps highlight how intricate issues of race can be.”

Mia Ives-Rublee, senior in LAS and a member of Inner Voices, said she was attracted to the group after taking a Gender and Women’s Studies class in her sophomore year. Ives-Rublee performed in two plays that spring, one on sexual assault and the other focusing on relationships. “In Inner Voices, we talk about issues that concern this campus,” she said. “The real point is to allow there to be conversation between people who think differently about things.”

She said that the plays offer a unique medium in which to examine the issues.

“The reason we do it through theater is because people can talk about the experiences of the characters,” she said.

“Instead of revealing their own experiences, they can step back from life and point to certain characters’ experiences,” she added.

Morrissette agreed.

“It’s fascinating to watch students grapple with issues through theater,” he said.