Thursday, February 26th, the Carey Auditorium was flooded with students of all ethnicities and backgrounds each as eager as the next to listen without prejudice to the anonymous experiences of their fellow classmates at this year’s Show Some Skin performance entitled “Tell Me More.”
Having sold out of tickets for opening night hours prior to curtain, students lingered outside the doors to the small auditorium inside the Hesburgh Library as they hoped to be bumped from the waitlist or snag a standing room ticket. In its fourth year, Show Some Skin’s reputation as an inventive, unapologetic voice to the marginalized Notre Dame community has obviously spread, prompting even President Father Jenkins to make an appearance for the first act.
Evolving since its first year subtitled “The Race Monologues,” Show Some Skin’s most recent collection of anonymous stories focused on issues of gender identity, mental and physical disabilities, and sexual orientation as well as the importance of race relations on Notre Dame’s campus.
While every monologue was brilliantly written and enlightening, a few stuck out and garnered the biggest reactions from the distinct onlookers. The speech entitled “Labels,” performed by Nanadi Mgwaba, gave a raw perspective on what it means to be gender fluid – someone who has a gender that can change and switch between male, female, agender or any other genderqueer identity – at Notre Dame.
“Inacessible” was a poignant monologue performed by Galib Braschler about the experiences of one of the four wheelchair bound students currently enrolled at the University. The author raised pressing issues like the lack of funding for the Sara Bea Learning Center for Students with Disabilities, meanwhile campus is currently under construction for a seemingly unnecessary $400 million dollar project.
Imanne Mondane and Amber Bryan both portrayed fierce commentary on the standards set for young black women on a predominantly white campus written by their classmates in the respective monologues “Ideas of Beauty” and “You’re Dismissed.”
Lan Jiang spoke about the dangers of misrepresenting mental issues in “So OCD,” a monologue written by a student diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder who has observed and disagreed with the nonchalant use of phrases such as the speech’s title.
The production was beautifully staged and the monologues brought to life by a talented cast that was appropriately just as diverse as the stories they had the responsibility to tell.
Show Some Skin has many more amazing years ahead and even takes strides to continually improve its already groundbreaking production by offering short performance surveys that were to be filled out and turned in by audience members after each production as a well as a post-show discussion that was held the Sunday after the final performance.
Projects like Show Some Skin give a powerful voice to the seemingly voiceless and are the reasons Notre Dame continues to evolve into a student body that has a better understanding and compassion for their neighbors.