A senior project by Marisa Faller (Directing, Playwriting & Production)
People everywhere are lacking information and skills which ought to be deemed as common knowledge. We are all on dangerously different pages, which furthers the importance of transparent and raw encounters with an individual’s unique point of view. The C-Word (consent), a senior thesis project created by Marisa Faller (Directing, Playwriting and Production), focuses on topics that may be described as taboo. Within recorded Zoom discussion meetings and interviews, a diverse range of artists, creators, educators, birth workers, and social justice activists and advocates living in Pennsylvania, Vermont, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey and Nigeria tackle topics which include but are not limited to:
- consent in and out of the bedroom;
- varying examples of self-care;
- standing up for ourselves;
- owning up to being the aggressor in a situation and eventually learning from the experience;
- handling rejection;
- the gender binary and the stereotypes it encompasses;
- the "minority checklist";
- the ever-changing pornography industry and its effects on our malleable minds; and
- the differing levels of sex education.
*It is recommended that this presentation be digested in multiple sittings to fully process the material presented.
Katie Rose Davis ’21 (she/they) is a dancer, multimedia artist and writer based in Philadelphia. Their artistic work seeks to normalize and celebrate different body and brain types, as well as explore their own queer, womxn identity and neurodivergence.
Nox Shou ’20 (they/them/theirs) is a Philly-based urban farmer, activist, filmmaker and artist. Through regenerative agriculture—beginning with Crow's Rest Farm in South Philly—they hope to encourage people to produce their own food and develop self-sufficient communities.
Erica Sholes (she/her) is a sophomore Directing, Playwriting and Production major concentrating in Stage Management. She enjoys acting, playing trumpet and visiting art museums. She hopes to continue exploring her position in political activism and as a sexual education advocate going forward.
Brenda Churchill is an activist, public speaker, change maker who took on the role of being an unpaid lobbyist for the Vermont LGBTQ+ community at the Vermont State House in the spring of 2017. Her program "Ask A Transgender Person" has brought her to board rooms, churches and auditoriums around Vermont. As an unrelenting advocate for women who identify as transgender, she hopes that by educating everyone and banishing ignorance anywhere she goes, the entire community will thrive and live without fear.
Jennifer Jasper is a storyteller, director, playwright and solo artist. She is currently the executive director for Bennington Performing Arts Company (BPAC).
Michelle Marrocco is a performing and teaching musician based in the Berkshires of Massachusetts.
HK Goldstein is a multi-disciplinary artist living and working in Bennington, Vermont. They are the co-creator and director of two critically acclaimed radio drama podcasts: A World Where (aworldwhere.com) and The Mueller Report: A Radio Dramatization (muellerpodcast.com). They also work as a freelance director and production designer for independent film, theater and podcasts. Learn more at hkgoldstein.com.
Jana Lillie is the operations manager at BPAC, poet and mother to an awesome daughter.
Ryk Lewis is an artist/activist, theater professional and local politician originally from Philly, who now lives in South Jersey.
Hillary Chase is a singer-songwriter based in Bennington, Vermont. She is a graduate of Bennington College—Class of 2014—where she studied Music and Psychology. She is currently furthering her studies in Psychology at Community College of Vermont and plans to record her second album this January.
Being that mom-friend in 5th through 6th grade who gave out free pads to other bloody kiddos while passionately arguing with the elementary school administration regarding putting sanitary trash bins next to our toilets like any other public place (Unfortunately, I did not win that ridiculous battle for keeping our visits from Aunt Irma on the baño-DL, if you were wondering. They were worried the younger kids would grow too curious about the bins—UMM OK??? GOOD!!!!); and then later on in schooling, I somehow became a more low-key, free Otis Milburn from the Netflix series Sex Education (aka the non-licensed, make-believe sex educator and counselor students came to for advice).
And so, you could say it was written in the stars that The C Word (consent) was bound to become my senior thesis project, albeit after two to four completely different, failed theatrical plans and proposals (So sorry, Amy, Fadi and Lindsay, but I thank you for your patience and willingness to deal with my indecisiveness and lack of inspiration.). Reflecting on all of this turned on a lightbulb in my head this year that becoming a sex and relationship counselor and educator are the 100% passion-driven life goals I wanted to see happen for myself one day.
My freshman year, I read The Vagina Monologues for the first time, and was so inspired and obsessed that I curated a home series called The F Word (femininity/feminine—but not necessarily FAB). Afterwards, I learned that because those two projects were so stuck at the start of third-wave feminism, I needed to redeem myself before graduating by curating another, more inclusive project—now called The C Word (consent). As someone who attended a public middle school that separated "boys from girls" when the puberty lessons arose in health class and who questioned the lessons to no end (much to my teacher's dismay), I sincerely hope this project and the first interview alone inspires UArts and millions of other secondary and undergraduate schools nationwide to hire full-time sex educators.
As a note within a note: Nobody is perfect—certainly not me or you or them. We just don't think clearly sometimes. But we can ask questions. We can stop ourselves before we jump too far in. We can also apologize. We can do better next time. We can go to therapy. It is our job to learn from ourselves and others how to become kinder, less sexist and oppressive human beings. Join the movement.