"Speak About It," a student-acted show originally performed for first-year students during orientation, will return tonight for the campus at large. The eight cast members will act out true Bowdoin stories regarding relationships, sex and consent.
"It's funny, it's irreverent, it's serious. It evokes all of these emotions that are involved with sex," said cast member George Aumoithe '11.
"Speak About It" was written by former Improvabilities members Linzee Troubh '09 and Jeremy Bernfield '09. Troubh and Bernfield were also leaders of V-Day and Bowdoin Men Against Sexual Violence (BMASV), respectively.
The show replaced "Sex Signals," the performance used in previous years for first-year orientation.
Many feel that its by-Bowdoin, for-Bowdoin take on sex is more accessible and engaging than "Sex Signals" was.
"'Sex Signals' was an outside group coming in. It just doesn't have the same effect as hearing your classmates talk about sex; we're definitely less preachy," said cast member Gayle Perry Johnson '11.
"['Speak About It'] is a direct reflection of Bowdoin culture," said cast member Emma Verrill '10. "'Sex Signals' was too abstract."
To create the show, the writers used their own experiences and those of friends, as well as selections from Speak, V-Day's annual compilation of sex stories.
"'Speak About It' tailors its message to the Bowdoin student population," Aumoithe said.
Though the show was originally intended for first-years, Bowdoin administrators as well as the directors and cast members of "Speak About It" decided that upperclassmen could benefit from the presentation as well.
Special Assistant to the Dean of Student Affairs Meadow Davis said there are two central messages that all Bowdoin students should take away from the show: "Look out for other people, and get consent."
"We expect Bowdoin students, be they freshmen, sophomores, juniors or seniors, to follow these guidelines," she said.
"I think it's really important to continually deliver this message because there may be seniors who have never thought about this," said Verrill. "Just because you're a senior, you don't automatically know everything about the sex scene."
"Speak About It" is often humorous, though it also addresses serious subjects such as sexual violence.
"A lot of students might feel disconnected from sexual assault and rape. They would be surprised to hear that these sorts of things do happen at Bowdoin," Perry-Johnson said.
"Speaking about the good, the bad and the ugly is important because we need to force dialogue to happen for change to occur," Aumoithe said. "There is such a stigma attached to sexual violence, so people who have something to say are silenced."
During orientation, first years discussed their reactions to the performance. Verrill led one of the discussion groups and said she was shocked to find that not a single student out of the 16 girls in her group had ever discussed sexual violence in her high school.
"This is the time to start talking about what's going on. We need to talk about how certain things are just not ok, how some things aren't your fault, and how we can change Bowdoin culture," Verrill said.
"People need to understand that they need to ask for consent every single step of the way, or else they could end up hurting somebody. Our biggest goal is for fewer people to get hurt," Aumoithe added.
"Speak About It" writers and performers took care to balance appropriate boundaries and humourous adaptations.
"There's a line between having fun with stories about sex and relationships and taking on a mocking tone," said Aumoithe. "'Speak About It' makes sure not to cross the line."
"The words speak for themselves. I think it's a levelheaded, realistic portrayal of things that happen on campus. We do take creative liberties, but everything is based on truth," Aumoithe added.
"Speak About It" will be performed tonight at 7:30 p.m. in Kresge Auditorium.