On Sunday March 8, Goshen College’s Umble Center stage witnessed and heard 27 personal stories and reflections presented by 16 cast members. With more than 200 audience members in attendance, Goshen Monologues was able to deliver the “unspoken” words of women and non-binary members of our community.Monologues committee members this year included: Stephanie Dilbone, Genevieve Cowardin, Rachael Klink, Sophia Martin, Kyra Krall, and Ana Avila, who started the preparation of this event at the beginning of the fall semester.
After more than six months of preparation and six weeks of practicing and rehearsals, the Monologues committee – along with ten other cast members – were able to create another successful year of delivering personal pieces covering many subjects such as personal identity, body image, mental health, sexual assault, LQBTQ+ identity and relationships.
“The pieces were impactful and the cast did a wonderful job with holding the stories and performing them” said Krall, a junior nursing major.
Women and non-binary members of the campus community were given a chance to submit their written stories and words in the fall. Then the pieces are read and edited by the committee for “length, clarity and anonymity,” according to Krall.
Every year, the committee holds an open audition to all women and non-binary members of the community. All who audition are welcomed and are cast. The committee decides on the pieces to be given to the cast based on the tone of the story and the actor’s tone of voice.
This year’s personal stories were moving, and dealt with racism, sports, educational pieces, and even thank you notes to friends and loved ones. The show became a relatable storytelling event for many.
A memorable act for Makena Zimmerman, a student audience member, was the act “Senior Year.”
“I feel a lot of the same love, gratitude, and hesitancy going into graduation next month” said Zimmerman.
Goshen Monologues not only provides a space to be heard but also a space to build relationships; a strong bond that the cast and the crew shape is a bonus of being a part of its production.
“We strive to make our shared space in rehearsals to be intentional. We build a community in order to hold these stories appropriately while also being aware of how we need to care for ourselves and those around us. In order to do this, we make time to check in with how people are doing” said Cowardin, committee member and junior nursing major.
Traditions are being made as the Monologues happen every year. In addition to stretching and doing yoga pre practices, singing “I found God in myself, and I loved her fiercely” after each practice is one of those traditions. The Goshen Monologues cast had picked up this song written by Ntozake Shange from her show For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow Is Enuf.
“It is a powerful and beautiful moment to share these words together, and it acts as a reminder of our value before we leave our rehearsal space and return to our daily lives” said Cowardin.
Every year the show contains powerful and heavy material. For protection of students, Goshen College’s Prevention Intervention Network (PIN) members are always present at the show, ready to help anyone who needed it.
The Monologues family hopes to continue and encourage this tradition of creating a space for women and non-binary to share their stories.
“I hope that Monologues can continue to represent a diversity of opinions as they reflect those of the GC community,” said Martin, another committee member and senior History major. “I also hope that writers can shy away from conversations on political opinions/controversies and focus more on their own personal stories, pieces written in the first person, for example, more than disconnected essay type monologues”.
This year, the Goshen Monologues performance was closed with a beautiful and heartwarming prayer and remembrance of being thankful of the world’s beauties in the midst of the hard times.
“May we always find a way to hold our broken hearts together. May we always love others deeply and fiercely. May we always feel safe.
May we always trust in our resilience.”