Friday, September 17, 2010

Day 7 of the Tour: 9-14

During our second day of three performances at Tucson High School actor Jeanmarie Simpson went home sick after the first class (she's fine now). Art Almquist, the drama teacher, recruited two of his advanced students (Andrea and Drea) who were totally game for doing a cold reading of excerpts of the play with Kore Manager Colleen and myself. We quickly realized, as 100 students started to fill in the seats of the theater, that "no play" was not an option. I pulled 10 or so monologues out and we distributed them among the four of us to read . . as Jeanmarie told the class of drama students at Marana HS last week, you say "YES. . . AND/ YES. . . AND when you improvise." And so went the next two performances.

Students really dialed into what was coming out of their peers' mouths. The after discussion was intense, vibrant and very clearly focused on gender differences.

Here is what some of those student had to say that day:

"I feel disturbed, sad, anxious, proud, pity, disgust, humiliation, inquisitiveness, melancholy, misinformed, enlightened, congested, weak. I didn't like how the mother and chose to go at the same time as her husband. Taking both parents away from a 4 yr old is gross, sickening."

"I remember thinking [during the play] this is not the civilized world."

"At what point do you fight, at what point do you let things go? When do you just give up and excuse the world? it is difficult to say."

". . . war is forever awful. I find it hard to support or take pride in. I will never go and will not let my brother go. Men are scum and I will not let them look down on me because I am a woman. I will not let it happen."

"The stuff that happens in the military shouldn't be endured by anyone."

". . . this just really touched home for me where I am in a low brass section in band---that is a male-oriented area. You either fit in or you don't."

"I feel the weight of many years of history--the stories of men and women whose lives are forgotten but whose struggles mirror my own. . . [this is] a war memorial more meaningful than a statue or a wreath. War/anti-war; knowledge/awareness; compassion/grief."

"I got chills like 20 times because how tense the situation was. I feel disappointed on how some men still look down on women."

"This has got to be one of the hardest things I have ever listened to. Women don't deserve to be treated this way, especially by men they are working with."

"I feel kinda sad like something has gone missing."

"I had no idea these kinds of things were going on to women in the military. It's awful that because someone is a different gender, you treat them so differently."

"I feel surprised. Why? Because I didn't think there were people who still do raping, harassing. . . Why? Because men should already know how [to show] respect."

"It just amazes me how many women in the military are sexually assaulted and they just don't say anything in the news or anything. I wouldn't want to fight for a country that just brushes off my concerns or grievances. It's our first amendment. We have the right to petition our government for our grievances."

". . . all of the harassment and abuse needs to stop. My dad fought in Vietnam so I've never gotten to hear anything about the army from the opinion of anyone other than a man."

"I feel that peace, even the idea of peace, has been lost over time, and that it would take a sudden realization that this is wrong to help bring it back. But why has it been lost??"

"I feel devastated and uplifted and enlightened."

"I can't see why people would want to go to war just to fill the gas tanks of American cars. . . War is a human invention: terrible and destructive like our pollution. I breaks a person."

"I plan on joining the military or Coast Guard after high school. To hear how many women in the military go through so much makes me want to be part of something bigger than myself."

"This topic needs to be put out in the world more. Women should be able to express themselves no matter what."

"It's like women are taken advantage of because they aren't physically strong enough to fight back. It's like they want to toughen these women up. I don't really understand why this happens. I just hope it stops."

"I feel that females are looked down upon and disrespected, but will rise."

". . . despite all the threats and discrimination, they proved that as a woman you can pursue what others say is impossible."

"What about our women's rights?"

"I feel the hurt and suffering my fellow women go through."

"Without women this world would not have any humans."

"We don't know HALF of the things that go on. The girl was constipated for two week and the enema didn't work: JESUS!"

"The Israeli army will be a different experience by far, as a family and community. I think because it is more expected that women will join. I will not get raped or harassed, like these women did."

"I feel shame that someone in the army can become a victim."

"If men can do it, why can't women?"

"I wasn't aware of how women were treated [in the military]. . . it makes me want to change things so that women are treated equally when they go into war."

"Why in the hell do [men] think that's ok to do [rape a women in the army]?"

". . this performance was very raw and didn't hold back on what needed to be said."

". . . it is extremely obscene and disgusting that our government would cover up the misdeeds of military men against military women."

"I would be pissed if people around me, people I needed to trust with my life, tried to rape me."

"I wouldn't join the military, but if a woman feels that God wants her to join, she should be able to without fearing the male soldiers and what they might do."

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