Strange like Me


Hannah Kiges

Characters meet already filled with preconceived ideas.

Hannah Kiges, Variety Editor

“I don’t want you here,” an actress mocked from the stage set up in the student center on Oct. 24, 2012. The actress singled people out whether it was because of race, or gender, or appearance she mocked them, eliciting nervous laughter and uncomfortable shifting in seats.

The GTC Dramatic Dialogue acting crew came to Southwest Minnesota State University to put on a production called “Strange Like Me,” an interactive group of skits to show how hurtful jokes, comments, and misconceptions about race, gender, sexuality, and religion can be.

They played two different groups of friends with grand misconceptions and communication problems regarding the themes central to that particular skit.

The host, Michael, stopped the skits and had the actors sit down, still in character, and held an open discussion between them and the meager audience.

Audience members were encouraged to talk about instances they’ve encountered racism, sexism, homophobia, and other prejudices while at SMSU, and talk about ways they think they could be solved. They were also asked to give their opinions on whether the characters were over reacting, or had the right to be offended. Many people spoke up and gave their stories, some even got angry at the prejudices displayed and referred to.

This shocking, and somewhat uncomfortable production was an eye opener to many students. The attending audience was rather small, but more than a few passersby slowed down in shock and awe at what was being said on the stage.

The cast was nice enough to stick around after and talk to students about their experiences in the production and what they think of the messages they’re sending to be more open minded and less judgmental. They travel around to high schools, colleges, and corprate businesses to give a new spin on boring old sensitivy and inter cultural training by making it relatable and shockingly blunt.

Overall it was a great production, one that should not only come back to SMSU, but should be mandatory for students to attend, as many people could learn from the lessons taught and issues brought to light in “Strange Like Me.”