Inner Voices talk sex

By Amy Fishman

No one can deny it. Love, sex and hook-ups are some of the biggest issues in a college student’s life. Over the weekend a student group tackled these issues and more through theatre and discussion and and will continue to do so this week.

Inner Voices: Social Issues Theatre addressed the issue of college relationships through their presentation “Get a Clue: A candid and lively look at love, lust, intrigue and allure,” last Thursday, Friday and Saturday in the Armory Free Theatre.

This week, the ensemble will tour campus with free and open-to-the-public performances at 8 p.m. Tuesday at Pi Beta Phi Sorority, 1005 S. Wright St., Wednesday at ISR and Thursday at PAR.

Through performances and discussions, the program addresses social issues that are important to college students.

J.W. Morrissette, assistant program coordinator, said the program is made up of an acting ensemble along with students who are in social issues or inner voices classes.

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Each semester the program addresses different topics, such as health concerns, sexual health, body image, hate crimes, racism, women’s issues, gay and lesbian issues and sexual assault.

Scripts are generated in three ways, according to Morrissette. Sometimes they are already written, sometimes the ensemble writes them, and sometimes the ensemble calls for scripts from playwrights.

We want to make it particular to the students, Morrissette said.

Ensemble member Eric Siegel, sophomore in education, said Director and Program Coordinator Lisa Fay asked the ensemble to decide what issues about relationships to address and how to address them.

Kevin Reader, ensemble member and graduate student, said the ensemble compiled a bunch of data, such as issues about relationships they discussed and thought a game show could facilitate different theories of relationships.

So the group presented the issues in a game show called “Get a Clue,” where a game show host asked typical relationship questions, and contestants answered her questions and provided their opinions about certain relationship issues. Some of the issues addressed included trust, communication, standards, breaking up, interracial dating and being single.

After the performance, performers and facilitators started a community dialogue about the show with the audience.

“We use the performance as a framework to hopefully create a community dialogue around the issues,” Morrissette said.

Siegel said there is not really a main message to the show, but if there was one, it would be that it’s okay to be in any kind of relationship.

“It’s acceptable to be in any one of a variety of relationships whether or not family or friends pressure you to act otherwise.”

Morrissette said the issues brought up in the show may be useful to students.

“It’s purposely left a little open-ended, but it will hopefully help people examine relationships in their lives,” he said.

Melissa D. Mason, senior in ALS and single, said the performance made her think about issues she never considered, and it brought up good points.

“This makes me think about the future so when I do get into a relationship, I will know what to look for,” she said.

Ensemble members want to give the audience something to think about, Reader said.

“We want to present the topic at hand so that the audience themselves can interpret it their own way,” he said.

During the discussion, facilitators asked questions to keep the conversation going. The facilitators are enrolled in Theatre 417, Leading Post-Perform Dialog, a course that teaches students to lead post-performance discussions about social issues.

Director of Facilitation Marilyn Best said to prepare for the dialogue, the facilitators researched the issues addressed in the performance, such as interracial dating, and thought about the kinds of questions to ask that would get people to talk.

Issues discussed during the facilitated dialogue with the audience included hook-ups, promiscuity, safe sex, being single and relationships.

Some people discussed how random relationships, or hook-ups, are risky but pretty common in college life and how the definition of promiscuity differs when it is used to describe guys and girls.

Single audience members discussed the occasional loneliness of being single, but the importance for college students to focus on themselves and their goals before committing to someone else. They also discussed the pressures of finding a significant other in college, but how it is acceptable to wait until after college to start a relationship.

A few discussed how being in a relationship is supportive of their goals. Others discussed the difficulties and positives about relationships and how long-distance relationships are challenging when people cannot see their significant others, but sometimes the distance is good for independence.

Students will have more opportunities to attend the program’s performances and to engage in facilitated discussions about the issues addressed.

In April, the program will present a show about sexual assault, Best said.