“Voices” will explore female experience at the College

by Amelia Rosch | 3/2/15 6:46pm

Now a year after its conception, “Voices,” an original student production created during last February’s V-Week, will return to the College today and Wednesday. “Voices,” which is directed, produced, written and performed entirely by self-identifying women, will give women a chance to share stories that range from sexuality to body image to sex education.

“Voices” co-directors Kalie Marsicano ’17 and Jessica King Fredel '17 said that the production is meant to start new conversations about what it means to be a woman at the College.

“A lot of it is dealing with femininity — what it means to be a woman, female sexuality,” Marscianosaid.

She said that other pieces in the production will deal with more abstract issues, including gender identity, sexual assault and racial dynamics.

Mariscano said that unlike “The Vagina Monologues,” “Voices” is completely Dartmouth-centric and focused more on general womanhood.

“It’s a different tone,” she said. “‘The Vagina Monologues’ is very center[ed] around the vagina and comes back to that a lot. ‘Voices’ is broader and more catch-all in how it deals with womanhood.”

Students performing in “Voices” gave a range of reasons for why they decided to get involved in the performance, including a desire to meet other women at the College and to perform in an on-stage production.

Joanna Millstein ’17, who is performing in “Voices” for the first time this year, said that she decided to get involved after hearing about the performances from her friends. The opportunity to interact with other self-identifying women at the College, she said, was another motivation for participating in the performance.

“One thing that I love is having older, female role models,” she said. “I wanted to get involved to see what all the hype was about.”

Ellen Plane ’15 mentioned similar reasons, and said that she chose to take part in “Voices” because of the chance to meet other women and hear and share new stories. The opportunity to become involved in a type of performance art, she said, was another drive for her to participate since she had not had that experience before.

Kit Hattier ’18, who also performed in “The Vagina Monologues,” said that she wanted another opportunity to involve herself in the feminist movement at the College.

Much like the range of reasons for participating, the pieces that these women will perform cover a diverse array of topics.

Millstein said that her piece, a performance she wrote called “My Rough Draft,” explores what it is like to be a 20-year-old adult who does not to have her entire life planned out yet.

“I wanted to write a piece that is about kind of how I see myself,” Millstein said. “I was overwhelmed with what to share with just one particular topic because it is so binding. I wanted to talk about how I don’t have anything figured out and that everything is up in the air.”

Hattier said that she is performing two pieces, one that she wrote herself and another that was authored by a friend. Her friend’s piece, which is called “A Feminist Dilemma,” explores the tension between wanting to participate in and engage with the College’s social spaces while continuing to uphold feminist values. Hattier’s piece, “The Birds and the Bees Revisited,” discusses sex education and how it has become a replacement for real conversations about sexual interaction and health.

“It’s about [sex education] taking the place of what a parent should do,” she said. “We’re not talking to kids enough about sex and what it means. It’s almost mechanical in how we’re explaining it.”

Mariscano said that she hopes audience members gain a new perspective on what it means to be a woman at the College and a better understanding of general womanhood after watching “Voices.”

“People should look forward to seeing something entertaining and meaningful,” she said. “They should walk away thinking and talking about things differently. It should start a conversation.”

“Voices” was created last winter after students at the College raised concerns that “The Vagina Monologues,” which has been performed at the College for the last 17 years, is not inclusive of the diverse experiences of all women.

“Voices” was added to the Center for Gender and Student Engagement’s annual “V-February” events — which aim to help raise awareness about and end violence aimed at women — in response to this these concerns.

Last year’s performance covered topics ranging from the College’s hookup culture to personal identity and what it means to be a woman at Dartmouth.

Both today and Wednesday’s performances will be at 7 p.m. in the Moore Theater. Tickets are free for students and will cost between nine dollars and $10 for community members.

Marsicano is a member of The Dartmouth staff.