College. What is the root of beautiful relationships, academic curiosity, and cultural exposure can just as easily be a feeding ground for stereotypes, social pressures, and contention. Often, we get so caught up in all the factors that create this environment – meetings, exams, socials, applications – that we don’t take a minute to appreciate the good or understand the bad.
This weekend I had the pleasure of attending an annual performance per the recommendation of half of my friends, a lot of Facebook activity, and dozens of flyers. Known as the Me Too Monologues, this show is performed, written, and produced by Duke students. The concept is just as simple as it is multifaceted: students write and anonymously submit stories about their own experiences, while others audition to perform these stories. After months of buildup, Me Too Monologues opens and students line up hours before the free show to guarantee themselves a spot in the audience.
Students see Me Too for dozens of reasons. Some go hoping to see their story shared, others go because their roommate or friend is performing, while others still go just to see what all the hype’s about. I personally went because Naomi Reimer, one of my close friends, was assistant directing, and while the “I have too much homework” or “but it’s on East Campus” excuses had worked in years past, I wouldn’t be able to bypass the pressure to go this time around.
Logan Hasson, the Assistant Producer, took the words right out of my mouth in the show’s promotional video: “Me Too Monologues is a show that makes me proud to go to Duke.”
In a two-hour performance, audience members laughed, cried, screamed, gasped, and watched in awe as students presented the heart-wrenching and sidesplitting stories of our peers. The overarching theme of the show is identity; each of the monologues presents experiences and struggles involving race, gender, sexuality, and class. I felt inspired, I felt represented, I felt enlightened, and I felt understood. It is remarkable that a two-hour show written and performed by your classmates can have you completely reevaluating your experiences at Duke, and in life. I am so grateful to have been exposed to the Me Too Monologues, and so impressed that I have my fellow students to thank for it.
Me Too’s concept of sharing to better cope with and understand issues has been materialized in the Me Too Campaign, which you can follow on their Tumblr blog.
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