OSWEGO -- A grant and a residency program will
enable a group of SUNY Oswego students to create a play about surviving
The $10,857 Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation grant will
bring Peggy Shaw of the Split Britches troupe to campus for five weeks
to oversee the creation of the performance piece, "No Such Thing As
Solo," said Jonel Langenfeld-Rial, an assistant professor of theatre
who coordinates the project. Students taking part in a
quarter-session class in the fall will devise, script and perform in
the original production.
Langenfeld-Rial has begun connecting with campus and
community groups. She has talked to Oswego County Opportunities'
Services to Aid Families program and the women's studies department,
and plans to work with the Women's Center on campus, among others. The
assistant professor of theatre said she would be happy to work with
"anybody and everybody" on campus or in the community willing to help.
Students in the class will interview survivors of
domestic violence, but Langenfeld-Rial emphasized that they are
collecting information that will contribute to a positive message. "The
piece will be about people moving on and making a new life for
themselves," she explained. "We're not going to dwell on what happened."
Ultimately the goal involves a "re-imaging" process,
letting survivors "visualize that perfect someone they want to be," she
said. "Anybody can be whatever they want if they put their mind to it."
The production will aim to raise awareness,
particularly in a county where the level of domestic abuse is
alarmingly high, she said. "We're hoping that women of any age can know
that if they are being abused, that there is help out there,"
Langenfeld-Rial said. "There is support out there and they can look at
these women who have moved on with their lives."
Another target is "to educate young women that they
don't have to put up with any type of harassment," she noted. "For the
general community, I want them to open their eyes and not to close
their eyes to domestic violence."
She stressed that men are encouraged to be part of
the process. "It's not like we're saying that it only happens to women,
because it doesn't," Langenfeld-Rial said. "But the focus of this
production will be on what happens to women."
Langenfeld-Rial said part of the learning process
will develop from students hearing stories from women who have made
something positive from such a negative experience. "There are some
women out there with stories that they think may not be important," she
said. "But they are important, and they may have things to share that
can help others."