Students perform for gender awareness
Published: Monday, May 17, 2010
Updated: Monday, August 27, 2012 16:08
The Gender Education through Performance will hold its first production on Thursday, May 20. Often students encounter questions when it comes to gender in daily life. For instance, marking either 'male' or 'female' on applications or swiping an ID card to access bathrooms. For some this is not an issue or second thought, for others though, it may be more complicated.
The student-run acting troupe through the College of Communication aims to address the concerns and issues surrounding gender and sexual identity.
"We want to begin the discussion on a topic that is often clumsy and confusing. Students often don't like to talk about gender issues because they don't know how to talk about it. This performance will hopefully lend itself well to students beginning to navigate this discussion with good language," said Dustin Goltz, assistant professor and Advisor to the program.
Goltz began this project last June after he proposed it to the Dean of Communication as a new way to educate students on gender and sexuality. In the last year Goltz has worked with students to develop a script, and put together a cast to create an interactive program.
The program consists of a 25-minute performance followed by a discussion forum facilitated by the student actors. "We want that part to be an open forum, in other words 'how do we talk about what we've just seen?'" Goltz said.
DePaul sophomore and actor in the performance, Christina Ferrari seems optimistic about the discussion, "I'm anticipating a lot of questions and very few answers.
Ferrari has already learned quite a bit being a member of the cast. She plays a "gender neutral" character named "Chris." A monologue her character recites talks about DePaul and the positive aspects of the school and its mission.
Ferrari said she feels that Chris is a very relatable character. "I think Chris-and myself for that matter-realizes that we, as students, can do something to make DePaul a more accepting place when it comes to gender issues."
Junior Bridget Liddell agreed that introducing this issue at DePaul could be a step in the right direction. "A huge part of what we are doing is to diversify the language we use around gender issues so that DePaul can move forward to a more expressive place," she said.
Liddell plays "Jamie," a character who is unsure how to identify so instead chooses to stay quiet out of fear of offending anyone. Other characters, all based on personal narratives, include a transgender male and a female who has always felt comfortable being female, so avoids the gender question.
Goltz said that the performance is not meant to be preachy or aggressive but instead be a discussion outlet for people who maybe "never thought about the issue before."
While the show will debut Thursday May 20th with a encore performance on Friday May 21st in honor of LBGTQA month at DePaul, it is also the goal of the troupe to travel to classrooms after the initial performance, so that they may continue to share their story.
"I hope this is just the first of many projects I can be involved with that are about LGBTQA and gender issues." Ferrari said.
The Gender Education through Performance can be viewed on Thursday, May 20th at the Lincoln Park Campus, Levan 406 from 4:30-5:30. Also on Friday, May 21st at the Loop Campus 14 E Jackson St. LL102 from 1:00-2:00.