“Demo,” a play written and directed by Brianna Lugibihl, focuses on how adolescents carry trauma and explores creativity, anxiety, sexual assault, other forms of trauma and coping strategies.
Lugibihl presented “Demo” as her departmental honors project. “Demo” is a mixture of her theatre and communication minors and middle-childhood education major.
After viewing this play, my opinions around trauma are changed forever. We are all survivors of some sort of trauma, and we each carry the weight of that experience differently.
The Bluffton community needs more productions like“Demo.” Lugibihl explored a difficult topic that can make many people anxious.
Many people campus could gain confidence in knowing they are not alone in their struggles. I strongly suggest more students discuss trauma with their roommate, classmates and professors. Everyone has a different take on how to handle trauma and the weight we carry from it.
I’ve always heard “It’s okay to ask for help.” Asking for help isn’t as easy as it seems, especially if you aren’t sure what the problem is to begin with. Machelle Smith, played by Erika Byler, feels this firsthand after she is raped. Machelle, also known as Match, is cleaning up scrap papers off of the floor when she reads one with the definition of rape. She later realizes she experienced this trauma, and her entire view of the situation is changed.
Each student portrayed in“Demo” faces a different trauma. These students each face their own issues and have different strategies for coping and handling these set backs.
Lugibihl said her goals with the production were to “open a conversation as to how to create a safe space for students to share their stories” and “alleviate the stigmas surrounding mental health.”
She has done this and more.
By bringing a sensitive topic to light and forcing a conversation about it, Lugibihl has turned the light on in a dark room.
No one is blamed for their trauma, and there should not be divides between one group and another. “Demo” successfully portrayed how traumas can overlap and how we may not notice.
Many of us experience various forms of trauma. “Demo” showed us how to use this common thread to unite a group rather than letting it divide them.
One thing I hope will come out of this discussion is the decreased use of the word “victim.” I hope we hear the word “survivor” more because we’re supporting members of our community in their journeys toward healing. I also hope that we can have more discussions about topics of this sort, and we can continue to promote projects that take courage to bring to life.
Lugibihl’s honors project opened a door for more sensitive topics to be discussed on and off campus. The only question is whether we’ll be brave enough to walk through it.