“This Is Not a Play About Sex”

Bridget Sheppard

It can be easy to forget that the person next to you has a story, but when senior Christina Liu embarked on her journey to create “This Is Not a Play about Sex,” she asked those around her to tell her their tales and their views on relationships, sex, love and the sense of community at Colgate. After extensive interviews, Liu wove the narrative threads she had discovered into this cohesive piece, which premiered over this past Family Weekend and presented a realistic portrayal of the college scene. Introducing the play, Liu, who directed the performance as well, challenged the audience to determine what they believed the play, if it was not about sex, was truly centered on.

As cast members stood and shared tidbits of information in the first scene, “Sex, Love, Kayaks,” they emerged from the crowd, reminding the viewers that these stories came from people just like us. Moments of humor allowed the audience to laugh at topics that can typically be hard to address or awkward to discuss. In “Dick-tations & Teste-monials,” the characters, played by senior Jared Accettura, sophomore Josh Paul and senior Rico Rosa, shared what they thought their penises would wear, what music they would listen to and where they would travel. This scene was paralleled later by “Vag-ographies and Tit-torials,” acted out by senior Samantha Rivera, junior April Bailey and senior Abi Conklin.

The scenes displayed a range of voices, from the role played by senior Corin Kinkhab-wala in “Old School,” in which the character explained how he viewed his girlfriend as the most beautiful girl in the school because of her personality. Liu gave expression to individuals who we sometimes seem to forget about, such as transgendered students. As the characters played by senior Xavia Publius and junior Evan Chartier explained the struggles of changing gender, they showed the funny side, such as how a transgendered man can tell his girlfriends to quit complaining about their period cramps because he’s been there and they aren’t that bad, but they also spoke about how they feel invisible at times and wish others would simply ask them questions.

Other more serious issues addressed were the feelings of a male-dominant culture and the impact of rape on a victim. During “In Pursuit of Power,” Liu’s voice nar-rated how it feels being unable to help a friend after rape, and how we wish no one else ever would have to undergo such pain. Senior Morgan Roth’s character in “You Can Use This as a Manual” used a PowerPoint to inform us about the Colgate hookup culture. “Pleasure Party,” performed by senior Sarah Gal-lina, also touched upon male power and expressed general discontent in life at Colgate. At one point, her character says, “I’m 21, and I’m already tired,” for she wishes to quit the competition to find a relationship or a hookup.

The play celebrates how all of these views of Colgate are different, and yet it points out how they are all similar, too, and how, when watching the scenes, we will all be able to relate to at least one of these voices. Liu concluded the play by reflecting on how these stories shared a yearning for connection and a feeling of being stuck. We all want to connect with someone; we want to understand and be understood. At times, we may feel utterly alone, but as Liu wrote in her Director’s Note, “Most importantly, never feel defeated and please never feel alone, because there are people who feel what you feel and want what you want.”

Contact Bridget Sheppard at [email protected]