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Xavier Players Perform Voices for Change

By Patrick Clark
On November 30, 2011

Recently, Xavier Players presented Voices for Change, a theater production in which students are given the chance "to stand up and be heard," said this year's producer

senior Jay Cusick. Presented in the small and intimate space of the Gallagher Student Center Studio Theatre, audience members were up, close and personal with the

cast of Voices. The basic premise of the production was for students to bring social justice issues into a new light and give them, as the name suggests, a voice. The whole show

is a combined effort of many students with a total of nine separate, short skits compiling the entire production.

Each skit was written by a student, directed by a different student and performed by one or more actors. This semester, Voices discussed issues such as bisexuality, human trafficking, selfimage, domestic abuse and eating

disorders. "I have never been this proud at Xavier before. Producing Voices reminded me why I love theater, and I thank the entire cast and crew for that," Cusick said. "The only thing I regret is that more people couldn't have seen the show, but that's what makes Voices so special."

Considering the intimacy of the Studio Theatre and the mall

audience capacity, only a limited number of people were able to see the show despite the production being presented four times. According to Cusick, Voices for

Change has done its duty "if [audience members] can come out of Voices for Change talking about the issues, whether they are shocked by the pieces, didn't know someone had that talent or simply weren't aware of one of the social issues." Theater is an art form that must be convincing in its presentation. It differs from all other types of visual or musical arts in that it often, as in the case of Voices, portrays real life situations so well that the audience may see fit to place him or herself in that position and feel the same emotion. As a whole, Voices succeeded

in this endeavor. In particular, the skit entitled "Traffic" which portrays the intimate moments of a young victim of human trafficking, was one of the most engaging and emotional pieces that I have ever seen on any stage. Actress Jessica Howenstine made me believe that she herself had gone through this terrible ordeal of being treated as nothing

more than an object of pleasure and something to be tossed aside at the whim of an undeserving man. It was not until she left the stage that I realized that it was an act and needed to clap. Also deserving of a round of applause was the skit "Unpretty/ Pretty," directed by Jackie Hart and performed by Caroline Saxton and Abigail Hamilton. This was theater combined with dance, creating a different type of emotion that can not be expressed in words. I was personally moved by all the performances at Voices for

Change and am infinitely glad that I was able to attend.

It isn't until one sees a piece of artwork such as this that there is a realization of the many issues that surround our everyday lives. If I were able, I would give Voices four and a half stars. Such as it is, I am maxed out at four.

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