By Shelby Horton

On Jan. 15, at Hutchinson Community College’s Stringer Fine Arts Center, strange sounds could be heard coming from backstage.

Actors shouted, made other loud sounds, repeated rhythmic rhymes and sang soft melodies, getting loose as their audience slowly filed into the compact Gallery Theatre.

The stage was dimly lit.The only items on stage were a small couch and a tiny dresser with a matching stool.

A hush fell over the crowd, as the stage became bright, like it was coming to life, as two actors made grand entrances, already throwing the audience into a new world.

The college’s theater program was presenting a Student Showcase that was directed, performed, and operated completely by the students.

The skits covered a wide range of topics, from homophobia, to religion, and rape.

The most powerful of the skits was “My Vagina is my Village,” performed by Leah Towle.

It was a monologue that portrayed a young woman’s transition from a carefree and hopeful girl, to a frightened and empty woman after experiencing a horrifying rape.

Towle performed the monologue well, demonstrating the changing of emotions from the confident girl, to the self-consciousness, defeated woman.

The monologue ends with Towle curled up in a ball on the floor, re-living her nightmare.

The audience was left with the lasting image of her tear-streaked and blank face.

Another thought-provoking skit was from the play “Stop Kiss,” performed by KT Ybarra and Joe Rifai, showing some terrifying results of homophobia.

Ybarra takes on the role of a young woman falling in love, but when she has her first kiss with the object of her crush, they are brutally attacked, as a result of homophobia.

The audience reacted with gasps and cringes as the character described the attack, while a strong air of discomfort filled the room momentarily.

Some members shifted nervously in their seats, as this skit approached a very sensitive issue in our country today.

However, one skit stole the show and had the audience members rolling in their seats as they enjoyed its witty humor, while also taking in a strong message.

Written and directed by Kaitlin Kirby, it was called “Seven Little Demons.”

When a young girl comes to her priest, asking him to explain the deadly sins, the priest proceeds to bring out each sin, personified, explaining how they relate to modern times.

In his presentation, Pride is a selfie-obsessed girl; Sloth is wearing a snuggie, trying to sleep through the show.

Gluttony devours pie while hoarding food; Lust is an obnoxious boy who make suggestive dance moves, and Envy wants to be human.

While Wrath and Greed take on more profound roles, Wrath represented humanity’s constant fury and destruction, while Greed, in her elegant approach, reminded Humanity of its cruel actions.

The dramatic skit left the audience with something to think about, after a night filled with laughter and fun.

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