Everyone has a story, but not everyone can tell it, perhaps out of fear, inability or some other restriction
Poly Point of View (POV) became a mouthpiece for these people.
A communication studies senior project, Poly POV took anonymous submissions of Cal Poly students’ experiences and turned them into monologues that were performed Monday night in Chumash Auditorium.
Communication studies seniors Jacob Corsaro, Camille Clark and Marie Campos have been working since Spring 2016 to make this show possible.
“There were definitely a lot of setbacks, some not-so-positive feedback and some disheartening stuff, but at the end of the day that’s why we wanted to do it and it motivated us to do this project,” Campos said. “I think right now, right after the performance, we’re all just really grateful about how it turned out.”
Sixteen monologues were given a voice by a cast chosen to authentically represent the stories being told. Clark said that some monologues performed were personal stories of cast members but that information was confidential.
Using skills from his theatre minor, Corsaro wrote the monologues based off of the anonymous submissions and worked with actors one-on-one to polish their performances.
“It’s not my story to tell,” Corsaro said. “We wanted to cast people who had a certain stake in it that could really portray it in a genuine way.”
Each performance presented different issues that minorities deal with, touching on the subjects of gender, race, sexuality and religion.
Wine and viticulture senior Braden Bautista performed a monologue entitled “White Washed,” a term his character was often labeled as at Cal Poly despite his Filipino and Mexican heritage.
“My identity and who I am here at Cal Poly was something I really struggled with when I first got here,” Bautista said about his own experience.“I didn’t know how to identify myself, but this piece and this project helped me concretely put that into words and helped me identify myself.”
Theatre junior Jennifer McClinton performed “Pick One,” bringing attention to the struggles of biracial people.
“I really do believe there’s a diversity problem on campus,” McClinton said. “Cal Poly needs to open their eyes and see that these are people’s real stories coming out and being shared.”
Senior project advisor and communication studies professor Jnan Blau said he was pleased with the outcome of the show.
“They’ve done something that’s really important and really poignant,” Blau said. “The theatrical frame really helps deal with and talk about some of these issues in different ways that make it engaging, interesting and accessible.”
The event brought a much larger crowd than the three students expected, but they all said they were happy to share these stories with so many students.
“We wanted people to be able to recognize something in themselves,” Campos said. “Even if you didn’t think you’d relate to a monologue or contribute a story, hopefully you connected with some piece of the production.”
Corsaro said starting a discussion was the goal for Poly POV. She hopes that it doesn’t end with the show.
“Of course I’ll never have these experiences,” Corsaro said. “But in knowing that people do have these experiences and seeing how real and human it is and how it affects people, we start to want to help them and do whatever we can to make the campus more inclusive, more diverse and just embrace the differences we have.”