For the second year in a row, Goshen Monologues is offering follow-ups – safe forums for students, faculty and staff to reflect on Saturday night’s performance.Goshen Monologues, founded four years ago, is an event where women and non-binary students, faculty and staff perform anonymously submitted monologues about racism, sexism, immigration, depression, identity and more.
Although Anya Slabaugh, a senior, has been the driving force behind implementing the talk backs, the Monologues steering committee, made up of Sarah Hofkamp, Lea Ramer and Slabaugh, seniors, Marie Bontrager, junior, Hannah Friesen, sophomore and Rachael Klink, a first-year, unanimously agreed that they needed to supply the Goshen community with a place to decompress after such a heavy event.
Slabaugh mentioned that after last year, many people requested a place to discuss the performance. Without hesitation, Slabaugh set up talkbacks, which were well accepted by the Goshen community.
“People didn’t feel like there was anywhere for them to go afterwards or any way for them to talk about or process it,” Slabaugh said, “so it was a need that we heard and so we’re trying to meet it.”
“It’s important in general for any kind of experience like [Monologues] that you go through or witness or be a part of,” Ramer said, “you need time to process and talk about the emotions it brought up.”
Follow-ups offer a place for the Goshen community to come together and discuss Saturday night’s events on a large scale.
“The idea is to have facilitated discussion about Monologues, and also the hope is that we’ll have it with people who wouldn’t necessarily have conversations together,” Slabaugh said. “Usually, pretty easily you can have conversations with your friends, but this is for people to hopefully to talk to people who aren’t necessarily in their circle.”
These follow-ups were created not only so that students, faculty and staff could discuss their feelings about the performances, but also be educated.
“It’s a great opportunity,” Slabaugh said, “for you to learn how to be a better ally to people and a better resource in that sometimes people will talk about how they identify with certain experiences and sometimes they’ll identify what’s helpful and what’s not.”
During the first talkback on Monday, 11 students showed up. Although small in numbers, the students, led by Slabaugh, discussed what stuck out to them about the event, what emotions they felt and how they reacted during and after.
At the end of the conversation, students went around and shared goals they had, such as becoming a better ally, listening to those who need to be heard and more. Another talkback took place Wednesday evening at 7 p.m., but it ended after print deadline.
Greta Neufeld, an audience member and first-year student, really appreciated the opportunity to debrief.
“Monologues was a really heavy experience that caused a lot of conflicting emotions,” Neufeld said, “so it was nice to be able to go somewhere and talk it out.”
A final talkback is planned for March 24 at 10 a.m.
“These stories are stories from the community, and so it’s important to know how that affects the community,” Slabaugh said. “Stories also come out in the talkbacks that are also important to hear. It’s important to come for the same reasons it’s important to come to Monologues, in that it’s your community and you should be listening to your community and listening to what they have to say.”