Love 95 times

Hi,

At Centre College seeing the third production of Micheline’s play #Love95times. (She just added the hashtag…and changed the title completely between production two and three.) The maturity of the play throughout the process is wonderful. Each school’s productions have had their own personalities and each proved valuable to the development of the script. What I am most excited about and proud of is the process of the program. The idea of having a conversation on an issue through the development of a script for 16 months.

The production at Centre – incredible! Here are photos:

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However, the conversation is what’s key. After the performance there was a post show discussion facilitated by the theater department and the counseling center. About half of the 300 or so audience members stayed for the talk back. They all agreed that the play touched on the issue of sexual assault on campus in a fully dimensional and honest way. What struck me was the sincerity in the questions and responses from both the cast and audience.

One question was: While working on this sensitive material – how did you talk with each other about it? Was it different?”

The cast got to talk about the trust that they had and built with each other in order to be so honest, vulnerable, and not necessarily their best selves while performing. The honesty and trust is key.

They were asked about their perception and experience leaving rehearsals and re-entering the campus life. Was it different?

Yes it was. They felt stronger. They felt more aware of the issue. They felt empowered to do and say something. They felt less willing to participate or observe behavior that was unacceptable. They were more aware.

The idea that resonated with the audience was that saying and doing something to correct or stop dangerous behavior when you have a lot to lose is the challenge. That is the struggle in life. It’s easy to do the right thing when it won’t cost you. What prevents us from doing it? Overcoming that is where bravery live.

In the play a character points out that In the Decent of Man Darwin mentions survival of the fittest twice and love 95 times. There was a discussion of love. Love is being strong when it isn’t easy. Love is willing to risk your personal vulnerability for the protection of others. That is what I see the artists that are collaborating on this project doing. They are bravely sharing themselves to have a conversation that isn’t easy to have. A conversation with themselves, each other, and their community.

There were many comments that spoke to the value of the play. One audience member said “This play should be seen by every in coming freshman class at each college in America.” That’s a powerful endorsement. But the one that will stay with me is from the actor that played the self defense instructor who gets to teach a class during the play for the chorus and the audience shared with me that she “never felt more powerful in my life.”

I love this project.

Talk with you soon.

Padraic