2020 has been a difficult year for many people, and the impact of various issues has been felt especially by college students. The College of Charleston’s Department of Theatre and Dance has invited renowned actor, screenwriter, and film director Michael Smallwood to work with its students on writing and presenting monologues that share their observations and express their emotions on this unique year of challenges.
The entirety of the six-monologue performance, Our World: Student Voices of 2020, is conceptualized by the students as they learn various theatre processes. An alumnus of the department, Smallwood recounts, “Monologues are advantageous because they allow for individual ideas and thematic exploration.”
The students address a variety of topics that have weighed on all of us in 2020. One monologue highlights anxiety related to modern media — deciding which ones to trust. Another monologue focuses on the anxiety that a Black person faces and the staggering disenfranchisement of the Black community in the face of police brutality and murder. Tied to the stress of the pandemic and quarantine, students’ works also cover the pressures of the quarantine on families and the lack of national grieving over the 250,000+ lives lost to the virus. All the monologues carry themes of worry and fear, but also of hope, a return to “normal,” and social change.
Through this event, the audience is exposed to the student perspectives on uncertainty and how the events of 2020 have shaped who they are today — and who they might be tomorrow. The various monologues have different goals and intentions, and when asked about what he hopes the takeaway will be, Smallwood replied, “I hope the audience will see how talented and insightful our students are.”
Our World: Student Voices of 2020 will be streamed on December 4 and 5 at 7:30pm. Audience members are encouraged to ask students questions about their experiences at talkbacks following both performance nights. (The Dec. 4 event will be captioned for hearing-impaired audience members and will have an ASL interpreter at the talkback.) Admission is $8 adults, seniors, military / $5 College of Charleston students, faculty, staff / $18 groups of 3 or more. Show and ticket information is available at showtix4u.com/events/cofcstages, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling (843) 953-6306.
College of Charleston alumnus, Michael Smallwood ‘09 is an actor, writer, director, and teacher. While at the College of Charleston, Smallwood studied theatre, acting, and writing, and he won two playwriting awards from the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival. He is a core ensemble member of Charleston’s Pure Theatre company. His film credits include the Emmy-winning CBS series The Inspectors, the Netflix original movie Naked, and the upcoming Halloween Kills. Smallwood recently won the best screenplay award at the Big Apple Film Festival in New York City.