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Torn Space Theater hosts “The Kind of Thing You Don’t Talk About,” a timely look at what it means to say #metoo

Bravo to Dan Shanahan, Co-Founder/Artistic Director of Torn Space Theater, for bringing this work to Buffalo, and to NYC-based artist Asia Gagnon for bravely writing, producing, and performing in “The Kind of Thing You Don’t Talk About” which “utilizes monologue and multimedia storytelling,” weaving together personal anecdotes, storytelling, current news, and even memes to “reshape the misconceptions surrounding rape culture and victimhood.”

The solo performance, with video and sound design by Max Bernstein, will run from November 30 through December 2 at Torn Space Theater, 612 Fillmore Ave, Buffalo, NY. Tickets are $20 ($15 for students.) Curtain is at 7:30 p.m.

This production could not be more timely, nor the conversation more necessary. Everyday it seems like there’s another news report on the the systemic harassment and abuse that has been experienced by a group of individuals. It’s sickening, universal, and pervasive, as much as it’s perverse – and it’s not limited to women. Sexual assault can happen to anyone, anywhere, and at anytime. According to the National Institute of Justice:

  • 6 in 10 rape or sexual assault victims said that they were assaulted by an intimate partner, relative, friend or acquaintance.

  • 9 out of 10 victims knew the person who sexually victimized them. [1]

  • 34% of women surveyed in one research project were victims of sexual coercion by a husband or intimate partner in their lifetime. [2]

  • 17% of women, as compared to 3 percent of men, reported experiencing an attempted or completed rape at some time in their lives. [3]

  • 54% of victims were younger than age 18: 32.4 % were ages 12–17, and 21.6% were younger than age 12 at time of victimization. [4]

“The Kind of Thing You Don’t Talk About,” takes a bold and unflinching look at how we can work together to break the silence that surrounds victims of sexual violence, Ganon says,

People do not withhold information about stabbings or robberies for fear of judgement based on their appearance, but we live in a society where at least a third of women experience sexual assault in their lifetimes, and incident reports reflect only a small percentage of these events. How do we encourage people to talk about their experiences? How do we heal, and how do we make a better world? Society must change the way it thinks, recognizing survivors instead of victims, and bringing the dialogue out into the open where it can be confronted head on.

With a refreshing directness, and surprising humor, “The Kind of Thing You Don’t Talk About” is described as a “high-speed multi-media ride through Gagnon’s narrative.” Time Out New York said,

In this harrowing and bracingly hilarious solo show, Asia Gagnon shares her story of surviving sexual violence, and employs biblical references, sound manipulation, power points and mittens to poke fun at warped societal misconceptions of female bodies and male privilege.

In a recent article on Medium by journalist, Caitlin Johnstone, titled “Allowing #MeToo To Go Viral Is The Biggest Mistake The Establishment Ever Made,” she says that in her opinion, “what is coming is not a new political movement, what is coming is a revolution against the very fabric of the profoundly sick society.” Adding,    

A lot of us are scared to say anything about it for fear of hurting the feelings of the men we love, fear of retribution, and fear of being eaten alive by the intimidating, debate-culture defenders of patriarchy, but there’s a widespread sense that this thing is much bigger than it seems. Some leaders of conventional feminist thought have been speculating about some kind of progressive political upheaval, but in my opinion this is infinitely more revolutionary than that. We are about to experience a plunge into completely unknown and uncharted territory.

In 1977Audre Lorde, the self-described “black feminist, lesbian, poet, mother, warrior,” said during a speech, “…Next time, ask: What’s the worst that will happen? Then push yourself a little further than you dare. Once you start to speak, people will yell at you. They will interrupt you, put you down, and suggest it’s personal. And the world won’t end. And the speaking will get easier and easier.”

“The Kind of Thing You Don’t Talk About” is a conversation we need to have. If you can attend this limited run, I hope that you stay after the show to continue the conversation. Grab a drink at the on-site bar, and talk to your friends and fellow buffalonians. Share your stories so that we can break these cycles of abuse. In the end, we may learn a little more about ourselves and possibly about how we can work together to change our community and culture for the better. 

“The Kind of Thing You don’t Talk About” hosted by Torn Space Theater
The Adam Mickiewicz Library & Dramatic Circle, 612 Fillmore Avenue, Buffalo, NY
November 30 – December 2 at 7:30pm
Tickets: $20 general admission, $15 for students

Purchase tickets in advance at tornspacetheater.com or at the box office prior to performances.

 

Written by Jessica Marinelli

Jessica Marinelli

Jessica Marinelli is a WNY native, born and raised in the Lincoln Park area of Tonawanda. She has been involved in local politics from an early age and is currently a Tonawanda Democratic Committee Member. As an avid equestrian and animal-lover, she trained and re-homed over 40 horses. For over a decade, she was an event planner with the law firm, Hodgson Russ LLP, and now owns her own marketing and event management company. She has worked with international and national organizations on large and small scale events. Jessica writes on politics and local events, as well as working with Buffalo Rising as a social reporter.

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