Me Too Monologues – A Show about Identity
Duke Magazine – March/April 2012
Identity can seem so abstract. Me Too Monologues is about living it.
Me Too Monologues – the production about identity written, directed, produced, and performed by Duke students – held its fourth annual show in February. With nineteen monologues and fifteen performers spanning the Duke experience, Me Too has grown substantially since its inception.
Me Too premiered in 2009, the brainchild of Priyanka Chaurasia ’10 who was then president of the Center for Race Relations. Performed in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, it originally focused only on race. But through the years, Me Too has expanded to include monologues about gender, nationality, sexuality, and religion.
“Fuck you and your goddam judgment about what a good Christian is and what a good Christian isn’t” says senior Alison Kibbe rehearsing a monologue in the weeks leading up to the show. She pauses for effect “You cannot outdo the Lord in being the Lord. He’s been doing this God thing a lot longer than you.”
Kibbe’s monologue on religion, one of two she performs for the show, is about feeling alienated for being religious and feeling chastised for her mistakes by other Christians at Duke. “This is one of those pieces we read and we were like, this is what Me Too is about,” says Naomi Riemer ’13.
As assistant director, Riemer is charged with coaxing deeper meaning out of the students’ performances. “By the end of your monologue, you need people to realize that you’re not criticizing Christianity, but you’re criticizing the people who use Christianity to be self-righteous,” Riemer tells Kibbe during rehearsal.
Me Too has grown out of a need to express a wider range of campus experience. “We hear about all of these issues racism, sexism, but we forget that people are living these lives,” says Afftene Taylor ’12, the director of the show. “[The] mission of Me Too is to give a platform for different people to express themselves.”
Taylor has been involved with Me Too from its beginning. As an audience member in its first year, she fell in love with the concept. “It was raw, real, uncut, and comfortable but uncomfortable,” recalls Taylor. The following year she acted, and then gained further experience as the show’s assistant director in her junior year before becoming director.
“We’ve reached a new level of consciousness at Duke, we’re going deeper, richer, more heartfelt,” Taylor says. “A lot of these monologues are about having a secret and then choosing truth and freedom over lies and bondage. It’s gratifying to hear other people express those thoughts and think ‘oh, me too’.”