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Friday, March 1, 2024
The Observer

‘Show Some Skin: Pushback’ performance shares student stories

Student club Show Some Skin staged their annual performance in Hesburgh Library’s Carey Auditorium last week, from March 2 to 4, to share anonymous narratives of students from the tri-campus community. 

The theme of this year’s performance was “Push.Back.” Both executive producer Anna Lee and executive director Madilynn O’Hara cited multiple reasons for choosing this theme. Lee said the theme wants to challenge our acceptance of returning to “the previous normal” after the pandemic, and O’Hara said it was also inspired by reflecting on the hopefulness expressed in last year’s theme of “emerge.”

“After everything has settled down, people just want things to be calm,” Lee said. “Pushback is remembering we’re not okay with social injustice on Notre Dame’s campus, but also in general.”

O’Hara echoed the sentiment. 

“We crafted this idea of pushback which is to say, yes, we have relief, and we’re entering into this new world,” O’Hara said. “But how much has the world changed, and how much has the world stayed the same? What are we pushing back against? What do we as a community need to do or need to push back against to actually make this change actually happen?”

Photo courtesy Anna Lee
Cast and production members of Show Some Skin: Push.Back smile for a photo.

This year, about 60 to 70 monologues were submitted, O’Hara said. The number of stories varies year-to-year depending on how much students feel they can relate to the theme, and if they have stories they want to tell, she said. 

When selecting stories, the leadership team goes through the different monologues, Lee said. They consider a number of criteria in their selections. They want to ensure there is a diverse collection of stories, appropriate actors to fit the monologues and well-written stories that fit the theme, O’Hara said. 

Before the pandemic, Lee said Show Some Skin used to be a prominent part of campus. All three nights of the performance would sell out within minutes, she said. In coming back from the pandemic, she said, the show is not as popular, but members of the production are looking to keep powering through and reviving the show. 

O’Hara said Thursday’s show was about half-full with 150 to 200 seats in Carey Auditorium filled, and Saturday’s show was about two-thirds full. Friday’s show was canceled due to the snow. 

The show exists for the purpose of promoting diversity and inclusion, as well as creating an inclusive space for students regardless of sexual orientation, ethnicity, race, gender identity or disability, Lee said. With all this in mind, she said it is important to remember these stories all belong to members of the tri-campus community.

“I think Notre Dame can be homogenous, and it is really easy to get lost in that homogeneity because it’s what you see on a daily basis,” Lee said. “You don’t know exactly what everyone is going through or where they come from, and I think sometimes the brightest voices get drowned in that.”

These stories also provide a medium for students to find moments of solidarity and understand they are not alone in their emotions, even if the monologues deal with a non-traditional Notre Dame experience, O’Hara said. 

“We really want to show that everybody on this campus has felt lonely, sad and hopeful,” O’Hara said. “Even if you can’t relate to the exact story that’s being told, you’re not alone in any way you felt, and there’s somebody else who has experienced the exact same thing that you’re going through.