Theatre Review: Students share “Deep” stories

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A show snapped me out of my de-comped stupor last weekend: the student-written, student-choreographed performance “Rolling in the Deep,” directed by Katie Beck, ‘14 and Katie Krackhardt, ‘13. The monologues drew from students’ true, personal stories about heavy topics like abusive parents, abusive relationships, the menstrual cycle and suicide, tied in with lighter tales about entomophobia and a prized finger callous.

The Arter Hall stage vibrated on Friday with the raw confidence that only comes from finally saying what’s been silently simmering for too long. The performers stripped themselves down, metaphorically and literally, to share their stories with the audience, stylistically influenced by “The Vagina Monologues.”

The scripts were sticky with sex, rage, confusion and reflections on rough childhoods. It wasn’t high art, by definition, but it connected with the audience the sweetly simple way an Ingrid Michaelson ditty makes you “wanna do what bunnies do with you if you know what I mean.”


A full house of audience members laughed, cried and sometimes sat in horrified silence while the mostly-freshman cast successfully delivered bona fide fuck-you’s to Jesus, CNN and Pittsburgh.

Although the performers’ hands flew up to their heads in the international sign of angst too many times (I counted 18), there was something electric about seeing students perform scripts not from Chekov or Vogel but from their own personal experiences.

The sound of dancers slapping the stage of the Arter Theatre echoed off the antique walls, making the building creak with character in a way the dazzling-yet-sterile Vukovich Theatre never could.

It’ll be hard to forget watching Professor of English Jim Bulman dissolve into giggles at freshman Cale Davis’ incensed monologue about a floating turd.

The more sensitive topics have been unpacked before, but Rolling’s performers tackled this content skillfully, with the most relevant timing ever. Following rampant discrimination on campus this year, this show said just the right thing: much like generations before us, these students are sick and tired of being quiet while attacks based on race, sexual orientation, etc. go overlooked and unpunished. Late, canned e-mail responses by those claiming to make this campus a safe place only reinforced our culture of silence. It took the talents and combined energies of underclassmen to show this college what it needs to be talking about. Goddamn, finally.

The youth of the cast was apparent, but their potential was proven. I watched freshman Maya Jones’ eyes roll up as she danced, completely lost in the ecstasy of her movements. Young men hopped around in neon tights and totally owned it. In that cast, I spotted a young Eve Ensler, maybe hints of a Tina Fey.

Graduating became suddenly easier knowing the future of Allegheny knows how to speak up and raise hell.