By: CHRISTINA CLARK
This year marks the tenth anniversary of Michiana Monologues, and its last in its current incarnation through IU South Bend. Its next step is to become a 501(C)(3), nonprofit organization, after this year.
The Michiana Monologues is billed as “A Sisterhood of Storytellers,” and features spoken word performances of essays submitted anonymously by women in the Michiana area. Performances include stories submitted this year and “fan favorites” from years past.
“We’re pretty careful to mix the stage experience, so it’s a mix of pretty hard stuff, pretty empowering stuff, funny stuff and we can promise that people will leave feeling empowered and inspired by the resilience of women,” said April Lidinsky, director of Women’s and Gender Studies at IUSB, who has served as the faculty advisor of the production since its beginnings.
The production isn’t just for women, Lidinsky said. “I would say that all audience members are welcome and that feminism is about empowering everybody, and that the spirit of the show is not anti-man, for sure, but it is looking at patterns of violence and looking at the ways women are statistically more likely to be the victims of sexual violence. We know this from studies and the stories sure show it.”
“What I think these stories also show is that women are survivors, and that the stories—even the really tough stories—are stories of resilience and stories of overcoming, and I think those are the stories we need to share,” Lidinksy said.
The topics in this year’s production span body image, sexual identity, gender identity, menopause, motherhood, self-acceptance, empowerment, marriage.
“I think it’s a great introduction to feminism. Part of what feminism champions is the voices that are less often heard, so it’s an opportunity to learn. I think women will learn a lot. I think men will learn a lot. We see people of all ages. I would say, probably because of the material it is appropriate for maybe 16-year olds and up,” Lidinsky said.
This year there are four performances slated, ending with one on March 2 at 7 p.m. at the Civil Rights Heritage Center in South Bend for a donation, and March 3 at 7 p.m. in the IUSB Campus Auditorium. The last performance, in the Campus Auditorium, includes an opening act by Brittany Lee Moffitt, as well as ASL for the Deaf for $10 at the door. The IUSB performance is also the home of the silent auction, where beneficiaries of the event as a whole include SOS of the Family Justice Center, St. Margaret’s House, YWCA of the North Central Indiana, LGBT Resource Center of Michiana, The Young Moms’ Self-Sufficiency Program of the Youth Service Bureau, and more.
The Michiana Monologues will continue next year under the leadership of Shelly Overgaard as a 501(C)(3) non-profit.
Taken by Christina Clark
April Lidinsky addresses the audience at the close of the first performance of Michiana Monologues of 2017 at Vegetable Buddies.”