Icebreaker tries to shatter awkwardness

The Department of Theatre and Communications Arts kicked off its 2010-11 theater season with its annual Student Icebreaker,
which features two plays remounted from last spring’s Advanced Directing Scenes.
The scenes are from “The Vagina Monologues,” written by Eve Ensler, and “Dutchman,” a one-act written by LeRoi Jones.
“We thought these two pieces from the advanced directing showcase were not only representative of good student work but also
were plays that needed to be seen by more of the student population at Linfield,” Janet Gupton, associate professor of theatre arts and
resident director, said via e-mail. “Both are ground breaking pieces of theater for their time and still manage to surprise, shock and,
hopefully, educate audiences today.”
Gupton said that an additional reason for this decision was because all of the actors from the scenes would be returning in the fall,
allowing for the Icebreaker to occur earlier in the semester and show incoming students what the theater program has to offer.
The Icebreaker opens with 16 scenes from “The Vagina Monologues,” directed by senior Steven Stewart. The scenes feature senior
Bree Adams and sophomores McKenna Peterson, Laura Haspel and Ellen Hubbs.

The scenes run the gamut of the female experience, Stewart said, using the vagina as a metaphor for femininity and the female in
the modern world in scenes dealing with topics from genital mutilation to the production’s pinnacle scene about the power of birth.
Other than reworking the lights and costumes for the scenes since the spring production, the actresses have grown into their
characters as well as grown as individuals, making for deeper connections and stronger messages, Stewart said.
“I hope it gets men to understand more about the female experience and women to be more comfortable talking about these things,”
he said. “Once we get people to share they have a heightened sense of self when we get past the awkwardness society has placed on
[the subject].”
Following “The Vagina Monologues” is the one-act play “Dutchman,” directed by 2010 Linfield graduate Will DeBiccari.
“Dutchman” depicts a scene in a subway car with a white woman, played by senior Grace Beckett, and a young black man, played
by senior Tristan Patin. The woman makes vulgar advances toward the man, and when they’re unsuccessful, she resorts to insults and
humiliation. The man’s veneer of decency then shatters as the scene dissolves into racially charged anger and, ultimately, violence.
“Dutchman” and “The Vagina Monologues” are both connect with the audience and aim to expose the audience to things that people
feel uncomfortable talking about, but need to talk about, Stewart said.
The Student Icebreaker runs at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 16-18 in Marshall Theatre. Tickets are $5 and all seating is
general admission.

Gabrielle Nygaard/Staff reporter
Gabrielle Nygaard can be reached at

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