A lot of people did a lot of things to make this happen.
There’s a new thing happening at Falstaff’s this weekend. It’s not a concert, not a play, but an event that’s being called “an original campus-wide performance project.” It’s an interdisciplinary performance that brings together students and academics from IGR, Bias Response Group, Office of Student Affairs, American Studies, and the Theatre Department. Months of preparation have gone into this complex, multifaceted performance.
The whole thing is very complicated, blurring the line between theatre, documentary, and oral history. It’s a fascinating new experiment of a project that begs many questions.
Julie Mandel-Folly, a senior American studies major and English minor, has been involved in this project as a writer since early last semester. She has worked extensively with Rochelle Calhoun, Beck Krefting, and the Bias Response Group to cultivate a wealth of transcripts that she then curated into monologues and dialogues to be performed on stage.
This project is titled “On The Record” and it premiers on Saturday night at 8pm at Falstaff’s. Reserve a spot by calling 518-580-5760 or email LRiggs@skidmore.edu.
We sat down with Julie to learn a little bit more about what has gone into this project. Check out our chat:
SU: So…tell me what this is about?
Julie Mandel-Folly: So last spring Rochelle Calhoun, Dean of Student Affairs (if you’re familiar), was inspired by Eunice Ferreira’s Black Theatre class and a performance that had happened on campus where someone performed and then had an interactive talk-back/dialogue situation afterwards. She also does the Bias Response Committee with Beck [Krefting]. So the three of them, along with Kristie Ford from IGR, decided that an effective way of getting information about bias incidents and how they affect Skidmore and the larger Saratoga community would be through a performance piece followed by a facilitated dialogue by IGR. So, last semester I worked in Rochelle’s office getting in contact with people who have been involved in bias incidents on Skidmore’s campus: victims, perpetrators, and then a lawyer in town, and a police officer in town. I got their permission to be interviewed and…did you ever take Diversity In The US (An American Studies course that culminates in an ethnographic examination of someone’s life) with Beck?
Okay, so you know that ethnography project? Well, instead of writing about a family member or friend, a couple of students–ten of them–interviewed these people who we had contacted, those who volunteered to have their stories be told. So we had all these transcripts—like twenty page long transcripts—coming in last semester and then we’d have these meetings with me, Beck, Rochelle, Eunice Ferreira, Kristie Ford, Jenny Mueller from IGR, and then Emma Bridges ’14. Emma collected, last spring, people’s unreported bias incidents on campus and made a booklet out of them—so she’s been involved in the project a little bit longer than I have. And Ariel Branden ’14 has been taking pictures, this past semester, of places where bias incidents have occurred on campus and in town.
We’ve been in the process of putting this performance together since last semester: working on exactly how we want it to look, the tone of the show, etc. Over break and the beginning of this semester, I was responsible for taking these long, long transcripts and making them into monologue form.
And then we have a team of directors: Isabelle Howard (who’s a freshman theatre major), Brandon Bogle (who’s a sophomore theatre major), and Emily Moler (who’s a junior theatre major). They are our directing team. Our cast has been working with our directors since the beginning of the semester to explore the text and realize that when they’re acting, they’re not playing characters. They have to respect that this is what has happened to people.
It’s a very interdisciplinary, cross-campus group of kids, people from all different disciplines, different races, etc.
Click to continue »