Sunday, November 24, 2019

Nicole Rizzo's "To Stop Treading Water: Monologues that Challenge the Undertow of Trauma" in the UNESCO/UNITWIN Diary Series

Photo courtesy Stephen Vocaturo
The following video based on my Kilachand Honors College Senior Keystone Project at Boston University concerns the pervasive socio-cultural problem of sexual assault and/or trauma, particularly on college campuses. This is a topic continuously in circulation on various social media platforms (just think: Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, the Stanford swimmer Brock Turner, and the President of the United States). Movements such as #MeToo and feminist plays such as for colored girls who have considered suicide/ when the rainbow is enuf and The Vagina Monologues have powerfully given voice to survivors by offering intersectional perspectives and raising awareness. My Keystone Project was essentially an activist endeavor – one that aimed to deconstruct the universalizing narrative of the “victim” and the “survivor” seen through the historical lenses of racism, sexism, homophobia, and ableism. I have written a Vagina-Monologue-choreopoem-inspired play, To Stop Treading Water: Monologues that Challenge the Undertow of Trauma, that combines monologues, movement, and music to address the violence of rape culture and explore the diverse array of trauma responses. The play was performed on April 24th and 25th, 2018 with the assistance of a team of committed performers and designers, who also assisted with the development of educational multimedia (i.e. videos/graphics) materials and a website to contain them. Research on postmodern drama that grapples with PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) and sexual assault (which also served as the basis for my senior Honors Thesis in English) and the use of ethnographic approaches to gathering ideas, such as conducting interviews with sexual trauma survivors, informed my work. In essence, my Keystone Project was an attempt to give voice to survivors of sexual assault/trauma and inspire a call to action.