By: SARAH E. WARD
In American culture, women are often portrayed as natural creatures of expression who tend to share stories, feelings and memories to others with a sense of ease. Men, on the other hand, are culturally discouraged from crying or are considered soft if seen as too sensitive or emotionally expressive.
The Michiana Manologues is beginning to break that societal stigma by providing a platform for Michiana men to share their anecdotes, intimate thoughts, comedic fails, personal stories and more. The group performed Friday evening, Sept. 13 at The Well on Mishawaka Ave.
The Manologues is in its second year and gaining in popularity, according to IU South Bend graduate Brandon Rickey who joined the Manologues in the fall of 2011.
“There were a lot of people who were very surprised with this. I was pleased with the group of guys that showed up and try out to perform.”
The Manologues is a spinoff of Michiana Monologues, which is a theatrical production of stories collected from women in the Michiana area. Rickey, who originally came on as treasurer, has since taken over the project even though before signing on had no idea what the Michiana Monologues were.
“I had never been to Michiana Monologues. I had no idea what it was. I even honestly went there thinking it might be something I might hate.”
Rickey’s assumption was quickly proven wrong as he listened to what the women had to say.
“I went and it was so absolutely entertaining and wonderful,” he said. “It was all kinds of different stories, happy, sad, traumatic, crisis, funny, humorous.”
This type of platform offers men the chance to share their stories with others while remaining anonymous. Rickey feels this is a great outlet for men that has not been provided for previously.
“This is breaking down walls in a lot of ways. I think it is important for men to have a place to share their story and not be afraid and not be embarrassed.”
The Manologues are always free but donations are accepted to support local organizations. Last April the Manologues raised nearly $500 for S.O.S., an organization that supports battered and sexually abused women. Performer Ryan Yeager, a sophomore at IUSB, joined because he felt he needed to express himself.
“I heard there were auditions for it and I didn’t know what it was at first. Then I found out what it was and thought it was a pretty big cause in relation with The Michiana Monologues which is for battered women.”
Although Yeager was not familiar with The Michiana Monologues at first, he now believes more people should join in on the experience.
“I felt it was about time. I think more men should probably express how they feel. I know that’s a big complaint from women, especially from my fiancé as well. I don’t express enough.”
The Manologues offer an unconventional way for men to share and enjoy expressing themselves without judgment dissuading their desire to share as much as women do.