“The Foreplays” raises gender awareness

The Foreplays, a performance containing four plays written and performed by students, were held in the Fine Arts Center on the first night of Gender Awareness Week (G-Week), and covered topics like sex, menstruation and relationships.

Each play was read without props or movements. The readers sat in rows of chairs, and the stage director of each play read the descriptions of the actions that would be performed if the play was fully set up.

The first play by Jordan Watson was titled “The Crimson Wave.” A cranky man played by Matt Adkins represented the menstrual period. It followed the emotions and the daily life of Jan, played by Rebecca Prohaska, who had primary dysmenorrhea, which is extreme pain during menstruation. The play gave a look into the life of someone with dysmenorrhea and personified the menstrual period so that the audience could better understand the real experiences those with dysmenorrhea have each month.

The second play, “Medicine,” was written by Charnesa Griffin and directed by Jon Tuttle, an English professor at FMU. This one-act play followed a man and woman who were dealing with misunderstandings in their relationship. The actions of the play were solely driven by dialogue, so few stage directions were given.

“Opinions,” written by Casey Howard, discussed the misconceptions many people have about why rape happens and how survivors of rape should be treated. Lily, played by Ilia Campbell, became pregnant after being raped by someone she met on a night out at a bar, and she faced the different opinions of her friends about the aftermath of the incident. Junior English major Mason Jones played the part of Riley in the play, the character who ridiculed the rape survivor Lily.

“The play addressed the issue of date rape and how anyone can be a victim and anyone can be a perpetrator,” Jones said. “It doesn’t matter how nice or how slutty you are, you shouldn’t be forced into doing anything you don’t want to do.”

Mica Hilson, an English professor at FMU, directed the play, and there were many stage directions to give. Rather than just reading the lines of the play while sitting still, the actors stood and moved around the stage to show the intense emotions of the play. Junior professional writing major Brandi McBrayer played the part of the supportive friend, Charlotte in the play, and she discusses the rehearsal process where she and the other actors practiced reading lines.

“We met up with Dr. Hilson, and he made rehearsal really fun,” McBrayer said. “He encouraged us to show emotion when reading the script.”

Rebecca Prohaskas wrote the final play, “Sex Stories and Awkward Silences.” It followed the not-so-friendly friendship of three girls. Two of the girls were ecstatic about their extremely sexual relationships with men, but the third friend Amelia did not enjoy hearing all of the scandalous details of their lives. The actors used the space of the stage during the many stage directions.

“It was fun seeing the audience’s reactions,” McBrayer said. “They laughed and were quiet at all the right times.”

After the performances, food and activities were offered in the lobby of the Fine Arts Center. A photo board was available for students to finish the phrase, “I need feminism because…” to be included in a photo album for G-Week. An information station was also set up at the event offering information on birth control, Planned Parenthood, and other issues related to pregnancy and sex education.