Friday, October 16, 2015

Refections on This Is Not A Play About Sex

I recently had the honor of acting in This is Not a Play About Sex, an original play written by my dear friend and Colgate class of 2013 graduate, Christina Liu. Although I’m super excited about it, and I could talk to you for ages about why it’s a wonderful play, my enthusiasm was not always there (though this didn’t last for long). I remember in my first semester I saw the posters for auditions and performances, and I recoiled at the very thought of being a part of it. “It’s totally about sex! It’s definitely about sex! I can’t be a part of that!” I thought. It was not appropriate to what I thought theatre and activism should be. 

This, however, was a very short-lived opinion. It died quickly when I heard all the amazing reviews that the first few performances received. So I set out to see the film screening, which was its own trial. But when I finally saw the show, heard the words and felt all my many, many feels (I definitely cried by myself in Golden auditorium), I was in awe. I was amazed and honored to be seeing such honesty about this campus and this culture that I was joining in my first year at Colgate. Everything felt relevant and vital to my future experiences here at Colgate, and I felt like I just got an insider’s view on the campus as well. Seeing this show and talking with Christina set me on my own journey as a Theatre and Women’s Studies double major. 

Fast forward three years to the summer before my senior year at Colgate University and I’ve just been sent an interest email by the co-directors for this year’s production of TINAPAS. My excitement covered me head-to-toe, and I was so grateful to finally be able to be a part of this show. As school began and rehearsals commenced, I was struck by the energy that poured out of every single body that was present in Ryan 209 on that first rehearsal and at every rehearsal after.

The TINAPAS cast before the performance. Photo by Christina Lui '13. 

During one of our Q&A’s, someone asked how the cast got so close even though the rehearsal process was so short (it was literally a month), and my gut reaction is that we were all willing to be so vulnerable with each other. The entire cast desired this community, and we put in the conscious effort to make it a community. Our two fantastic directors, Charity Whyte and Providence Ryan, also facilitated the growth of this community, and it was one of their main goals for this cast. At meetings we were invited to share: asking what kind of underwear are we were wearing or imagining what pleasure meant or what a sexually enlightened Colgate campus would look like. We were challenged to rehearse our monologues as different animals and were dared to dance terribly -but joyfully- to music. But even with great questions and exercises, the efforts of the few can’t always reach the rest of a group. It was up to everyone to desire a connection, to actively seek out and create a supportive, trusting, and loving community.

And personally, I think we actually did.

- Monica Hoh '16, Information Technology and Resources Intern

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