Monologues molding mental health awareness
By Nicoletta Feldman
Long before the #MeToo movement gained mainstream attention through social media, a production with a similar namesake was created — and soon it will be coming to Rider on April 12.
The “Me Too Monologues” were created in 2009 at Duke University as a platform to publicly share students’ stories about topics such as mental health and sexual assault.
Senior musical theater major and director Kara Jönsson said she heard about the production through friends at Princeton who put on their own performance last year.
Inspired, Jönsson said that she used her Cabinet position member in the Student Government Association to bring the “Me Too Monologues” to Rider.
The production will consist of several monologues, a song, a dance performance and a video experience, all of which will detail real experiences of Rider students.
Students submitted their stories, with the option of remaining anonymous if they wished, through a form that was sent out earlier in the year.
Of the stories that were submitted, 10 monologues were chosen to be performed, including some written by the actors themselves.
Among those that will be seen on stage are stories of sexual assault, eating disorders and a male athlete’s struggle with mental health, according to Jönsson.
Although the “Me Too Monologues” are different than the #MeToo movement on social media — which focuses primarily on stories of sexual assault — they share a common goal.
Jönsson hopes that the production of the “Me Too Monologues” will make students aware that, whatever they may be going through, they are not alone.
The event page that was created on Facebook for the play reiterates Jönsson’s hopes by saying the “‘Me Too Monologues’ provide an opportunity for the Rider community to unite in our tumultuous world.”
“I think that the most important thing for people to know is the purpose of this event is to unite people,” Jönsson said.
Although the event has not yet taken the stage, it has already started to create a sense of unity.
Junior musical theater major Lindsay Andrews said that she felt “pretty alone” in her struggles, but being in the production changed that.
“The ‘Me Too Monologues’ has made me realize how much we are connected because we all fight the same battles,” she said. “I don’t find that sad; I find it more comforting and hopeful.”
Freshman musical theater major Dylan Erdelyi believes the stories “will change many hearts and minds.”
“I think most of all, the audience will be uplifted and hopeful,” he said. “Some of these stories are upsetting, but it is inspiring to see the unbelievable perseverance throughout.”
There will be a mental health fair at 6 p.m. in the Fine Arts lobby on April 12, according to the “Me Too Monologues’” Facebook event page. The production of the “Me Too Monologues” will take place on April 12 at 7:30 p.m. in the Spitz Theater.
Published in the 4/11/18 edition.