MSUToday
Published: Nov. 7, 2018

Department of Theatre to present Sexual Politics Series

Contact(s): Kimberly Popiolek College of Arts and Letters office: (517) 432-1561 popiolek@msu.edu

MSU’s Department of Theatre is proud to present its Sexual Politics Series, a unique and timely performance of published and ensemble-created works exploring how theatre, as an art form, has illuminated, illustrated and even misrepresented issues of discrimination, empowerment and abuse on several levels.

“It was incredibly challenging to find theatrical pieces from the past that addressed this subject responsibly,” said Alexis Black, assistant professor of theatre and artistic director of the Sexual Politics Series. “We were subsequently compelled to compile our own narrative by looking to excerpts from more recently published works and by creating our own monologues and dialogues. These works underscore both the strengths and possible weaknesses in theatre’s current and future response to sexual politics.”

The production consists of a compilation of monologues, dialogues, poetry and personal narratives. Philip Effiong, associate professor of theatre, is the assistant director.

“My research in responsible partnering in intimacy and consent practices for the stage drew me to this project,” Black said. “While Philip Effiong’s unease over the sparse attention given to sexual abuse motivated him to get involved.”

In order to address these topics in a meaningful way, the show will cover subject matter that includes stalking, gender-based violence, non-consent, homophobia and more. Understanding that these depictions may trigger unwanted reactions, safe space facilitators will be available throughout the show for assistance.

A major focus of the performance will be on strengthening community and communication, with interactive post-show discussions led by Black and Effiong alongside campus community leaders experienced in supporting and advocating for safety and survivors.

“In addition to emphasizing the role of theatre in structuring stories around sexual discrimination and abuse, our purpose is to also empower students and the community,” Black said. “While we strive to produce theatrical material that supports and honors allies, survivors, and their stories, we hope to have productive post-show conversations about how theatre can play a more substantive role on the question of sexual violation and safety.”

Altogether moving, thought-provoking, and sometimes humorous, the exploration of these complex issues is coming to the Arena Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 11-12.  A post-show discussion of about 20-30 minutes will follow both shows. General admission tickets are $10 and will be available at the door.

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