“The Naked Truth on Stereotypes”—formerly called “Undressing the Other”—is a three part show that aims to use original theater production to expose and identify stereotypes.
“The show aims to address social constructions and stereotypes and the way they affect us and then to begin to deconstruct them,” Social Issues Resource Center coordinator Devin Majkut said. “The show was created by, and for, women of color, and then in the past two years the show has become multi-gender.”
According to a press release, the show uses the metaphor of a fashion show as a place for deconstruction and truth telling. The show is in three acts: in the first one the cast members embody a certain stereotype. Then, in the second act cast members share personal monologues and strip off the stereotype to reveal their truth. Finally, in the third act, there is a dialogue with the audience. The show was started in 2004 by social artist and educator Stephany Hazelrigg as a way for students to break down and deconstruct the stereotypes based on patriarchy, racism, heterosexism, classism, ablism and other prejudices.
“You have to experience it to know what it is because we really invite participation from the audience; the dialogue following the performance is a really important part of the experience,” show coordinator Becky Renfrow said. “The function of the first act when people portray a stereotype is very much to trigger recognition in the audience members. It's transformative, many people walk away from the show truly changed.”
The event is co-sponsored by the Ethnic Student Center, the Social Issues Resource Center, the Women's Center and the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Alliance.
“The show is vastly different every year and always amazing,” Majkut said. “It's bigger then the show has ever been, and everyone involved is really invested.”
“It is a really cool performance and very theatrically engaging, but it also deals with real issues,” Majkut said.
“I saw the show last year and that sparked my interest. I left it really inspired to look at myself and the stereotypes I held, or were held against me,” student performer Arielle Roy said. “I went to the open casting call this year and knew I wanted to be involved in someway.”
The show will be at 7 p.m. on Feb. 27 in the Performing Arts Center, 7 p.m. on Feb. 28 at the VU Multipurpose Room, 7 p.m. on Feb. 29 in the Fairhaven Public Library and 3 p.m. on March 2 in the Fairhaven College Auditorium.
“We really encourage students to come to the shows on Wednesday or Thursday, if possible, because we expect a lot of people from out of town later in the week,” Renfrow said.
“I've been working all quarter and it has been mind-, heart- and body-opening. It has taken me to places I did not expect to go,” Roy said. “I went in with the desire to educate other people and I've come to a place where I've educated myself about myself. It is one of the most powerful things I have been a part of.”
The shows are free admission, but are benefits for two local non-profit organizations: Lydia Place and Project 20-50. There will be merchandise for sale, a silent auction and free-will donations accepted, Majkut said.