In the evenings of April 8 and 9 p.m. at 7:30 p.m. in Ramseyer Auditorium, 12 students and four Bluffton community members will perform The Beaver Monologues, including the director and producer, Rebecca Juliana. Admission is free, but donations are welcome. All donations will be given to the Allen County Crime Victim Services’ Rape Crisis and Anti-Human Trafficking Department. Art and Lecture credit will be available to students.
Many may not be clear on what The Beaver Monologues is and how the production came about. Rebecca Juliana, senior Social work major, theater minor, spearheaded the project.
“The Beaver Monologues is an anonymous collection of stories from women in the Bluffton Village Community, woven together in a theatrical piece of work,” Juliana said. “It is a representation of the experiences of women that are not often shared, as they are shamed into silence. By breaking the silence, the space for healing, education, and communication opens. This channel of communication is essential to understanding the hardships and joys of being a woman, and serves as the catalyst for change.”
Although this event will be the first of The Beaver Monologues, this project is not far from other productions that have been performed on campus. In the fall of 2014, the Women’s Circle club received official permission to register Bluffton for V-Day and to present The Vagina Monologues on campus. In February of 2015 the first-ever production of The Vagina Monologues on a Bluffton University stage took place.
Moved by The Vagina Monologues, and interested in combining theater and social work, Juliana decided to take on a project of her own. By April, Rebecca Juliana already had The Beaver Monologues approved as an honors project for the following year.
“Theater for social change is the advocacy part of social work, just done on a stage,” Juliana said. “Reaching a wider community and empowering the local members of the community is a huge part of macro social work and community organizing.”
Juliana spent much of her time in June thru August conducting research and planning deadlines. Collecting anonymous stories through a website, by December of 2015 a total of 16 submissions were received. The script was finalized by January 2016, auditions were soon held and by March rehearsals and workshops were in full swing.
“I was not expecting to get 16 anonymous stories. I was not expecting to be moved by every single one of them. I have laughed with the women in these stories, I have cried for and with them, and I’ve celebrated being a woman with them,” said Juliana.
Juliana will present on The Beaver Monologues during First Tuesday Forum on April 5 and on Civic Engagement Day April 6.
Juliana is eager to share the production with Bluffton’s students as well as the larger community of Bluffton.
“The Beaver Monologues are issues that students at Bluffton have faced,” Juliana said. “The stories in The Beaver Monologues are true stories written by roommates, classmates, sisters, daughters, girlfriends, mothers, people at Bluffton that you have probably run into before. These issues are real, and they are relevant to the Bluffton community.”
Juliana and the 15 other actors are deep into their rehearsals and are eagerly awaiting opening night. Sophomore Micayla Hanover believes it is important that Bluffton residents be aware of what may be going on around them without.
“We commonly think that nothing happens here because it’s Bluffton, but Bluffton really isn’t that much different to other cities,” said Hanover. “Rape does happen, so does abuse and discrimination. I think The Beaver Monologues will bring the community closer as a whole for both men and women.”
All of Bluffton is invited to attend this exclusive production on April 8 and 9 to celebrate women and bring attention to situations women face in our community face every day.
“The best part about the show is going to be when people are still talking about it weeks later,” Juliana said. “If I can get the audience to stop and think for just one moment about how gender affects our everyday lives, if we can impact the life of one person in the audience—then THAT is the best part.”