Students and members of the community filled the seats of the Hyman Fine Arts Center (FAC) for second annual “The Foreplays,” which encourages awareness and prevention of domestic and sexual abuse.
Hosted by the Gender Studies Program on March 25, the event was heavily seasoned with conundrums and metaphors.
Francis Marion University’s (FMU) 2014 “V-week” marked the sixth anniversary of weeklong fundraising and activities. All proceeds are donated to the Pee Dee Coalition.
The event consisted of four short plays written by FMU students: “The Sandwich” by Charles Miller, directed by Pamela Rooks; “Broken, but Unapologetic,” by Kiona Brown, co-directed by Jon Tuttle; “Through the Tulips and Beyond,” by Victoria Briggs, co-directed by Tamara Ivins; and “Sexual Identity” by Danielle Jones, co-directed by Dr. Catherine England.
Professor of English Jon Tuttle served as the event’s host. Tuttle plays a major role in the production of the event; many of the play writers and actors are and were students of his.
“The short play’s topics were made relevant to the V-week mission: ‘Standing Strong,’ all pertaining to sexual health and identity and gender,” Tuttle said.
“Broken, but Unapologetic” made note of rape, date rape drugs, trust and being broken, but not silenced or unapologetic. Not all was dark and gloomy however.
Brown layered her play with sarcastic quotes to offset the serious undertones. In one scene, actor Michael Waschowki jokingly states, “I’m a mass communication major and [all] we do is talk.”
Briggs made her debut with “Through the Tulips and Beyond,” which was a humorous play about getting to know yourself and your body before you let someone else.
Playwright C.J. Miller, who graduated in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in theatre, decided to return to FMU to seek a second degree in English.
“By no means is this to be coy,” Miller said. “Cheeky, but I’ve discovered people have actually gotten more out of it and even shown me a few things about my play I didn’t even notice.”
The end of the event was capped by a light reception in the lobby for all attendees. As the crowd mingled, an unexpected but joyous event took place.
Mihai Birladeanu, an actor, proposed marriage to his girlfriend Tia Fulmore, also an actress. Fulmore said yes, and everyone celebrated the newly engaged couple.
An evening filled with laughter, awareness and surprises made “The Foreplays” an event to remember.