By Carolina Barsakov
The ASW DP1 Theatre class is finishing rehearsals this month for their collaborative verbatim piece, inspired by the #Me Too Movement.
The Me Too movement is a social movement against sexual abuse and sexual harassment that was started by activist and sexual harassment survivor Tarana Burke. Burke started this movement back in 2006 to help women, who had experienced sexual harassment stand up for themselves. Since the hashtag went viral in 2017, a lot of awareness has been spread on the issue globally. Many women, including public figures, have come forward about their own experiences with harassment, sexual assault, and discrimination.
The DP1 Theatre class started their collaborative verbatim, (word for word) project back in November 2020. In order to execute the project successfully, verbatim has to be incorporated. This means that the class needed a collection of words from a group of people that they could use in their piece. So, back in November, a survey was sent out to the entire high school, student-teacher body, asking sensitive questions about any experiences related to the ones that the Me Too movement spreads awareness about.
A large quantity of results were received. Along with all the anonymous survey responses, a handful of students and teachers also gave consent to be interviewed. No names of participating students or teachers will be mentioned in the final piece. Their words, however, make up the whole script, as well as serve as the basis for most of the scenes. The class decided on using this project as an opportunity to make our community’s voices heard and to simultaneously raise awareness on the issue, here at ASW.
Sara F., a DP1 Theatre student and junior at ASW, said “The hardest part about the preparation for this project was probably reading the actual interviews. They were very emotional and most of us could relate to a lot of the harassment described, such as catcalling or being followed at night. These kinds of things every girl experiences. It was also hard to come up with the survey and interview questions, because we didn’t want to invade people’s privacy or come off as insensitive.”
Sara added, “Our whole class got inspired and agreed on using the #MeToo movement for our project. During discussions, we all found ourselves relating to similar things connected to the topic. We’re also a class of 7 girls, so we really resonated with women going through horrible experiences like that in general. We felt empowered and wanted to use the fact that we’re a class of all girls to our advantage, by making this piece as powerful as possible”
“A lot of thought went into the planning of this project, considering the matter of sensitivity regarding this topic. We are currently working on finalizing the piece and are getting ready to perform,” said Sara. The exact performance date is not yet fully set, however it will take place sooner than later, in the ASW Theatre on campus.