Vanessa Moss (C’20) performs her Sewanee Monologue. Photo courtesy of Luke Williamson (C’21).
By Lucy Rudman
Originally performed at the annual Bairnwick Women’s Center event, this year’s set of Sewanee Monologues will be published into an anthology. Participants can choose to publish anonymously, or not at all, no matter how they presented their monologues on stage. Additionally, the Wick plans to include monologues that weren’t necessarily featured at the Wick event, such as David “Chief” Johnson’s (C’19), which he performed at MLK dinner rather than Sewanee Monologues.
The last time the monologues were definitively collected was three years ago, the 2015-2016 school year. Even so, Eunice Muchemi (C’19), the co-director of the Wick, was, at the time a freshman, and explained that she had only ever seen one copy in the house.
“We [still] cannot find that book,” Muchemi said, “No one can find it! It’s really sad because there were so many good monologues when I read it.”
To hopefully avoid this problem in the future, there are three copies being printed this year– one for the Women’s and Gender Studies department, one for the Wick, and one for the library catalogue.
“With the library, we have an institution that actually stores books,” Muchemi said with a laugh, “so hopefully we know we’ll have it for the future.”
This accessibility would mean that students could use the monologues as first-hand accounts, for ethnographical purposes or for cases of documenting issues that students are facing in any given year or for non-academic reasons such as enjoyment or the experience of knowing they’re not alone.
“By publishing the monologues, I really hope people will have more access to the stories,” Sydney Leifbritz (C’20), a participant in the performance, said, “even if they weren’t able to attend the event.”
This storage and accessibility is especially important for Muchemi in that she hopes that, in addition to “having students see and read them and experience them” this collection and future collections will be “accountability markers” and described that role as a “long-term goal” for the book. She cited Johnson’s monologue as an example.
“I think, for Chief, [it was] especially important for his story to be written down,” Muchemi said, “It’s important for students to hold the institution accountable. Like, these are some of the issues that students are facing in 2018, 2019, 2025. We should hold the institution to a higher standard.”
The finished book will be available to read in the library the end of April.