Ostensibly a student production, “Relations: The Play” serves a far more important purpose than merely providing entertainment for students. It is a critical starting point for opening dialogue about many provocative, yet hidden, issues on the Colorado College campus that need to be addressed. Now in its 10th year, “Relations” has only grown in popularity among the CC student body. This spring, 11 people out of a record 80 auditionees were chosen to be a part of the play.
This year’s directors, Christie Ma ’19, Rafael Fermin ’20, and Ali Takkunen ’19, note that Relations gives a voice to people who are often ignored or shamed for their past experiences and identities. Because the content of “Relations” is chosen anonymously, no specific individual is exposed. Instead, widespread attention can be directed to the topics the production covers.
Although the topic of “Relations” has always revolved around CC student relationships, the content of the play has evolved drastically. In its infancy, “Relations” “focused solely on topics such as sex and “hooking up.” Within the last serval years, however, the directors of “Relations” have expanded subjects to include other aspects that constitute one’s self-identity, such as race, class, and gender. In particular, the production also became safer — the directors and cast have kept each other accountable by collectively upholding community guidelines. They collaborate with the mutual goal of creating a production that acknowledges the politics of performance and representation.
“It’s messy, and that’s okay” said Ma. “As a director this year, I have strived to continue fostering a community of awareness and versatility. The silliness, fun, and love in ‘Relations’ are rooted in an understanding of positionality — our own, each other’s, and that of this play.”
“Relations” has forced many members of the campus community to rethink the ways in which they interact with other students. Because “Relations” is such a popular campus event, it serves as a common ground for a majority of the student body to mutually reflect upon and discuss the play’s material, such as mental illness, assault, and consent. Few other organizations or productions on the CC campus have the ability to reach such a widespread audience, consequently establishing a sense of deeper community among CC students.
This event is sponsored by the CC chapters of the Student Organization for Sexual Safety, ,(SOSS), the Student Title IX Assistance & Resource Team (START), and the Wellness Resource Center. Take Back the Night at CC is part of a larger series of protest events that have operated under this moniker since the 1970s.
As of today, according to takebackthenight.org, Take Back The Night events have reached “over 36 countries in over 800 communities.” The Take Back The Night Foundation is a force towards the end of “sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual abuse, and all other forms of sexual violence” through the creation of “safe communities and respectful relationships through awareness events and initiatives.” On Tuesday, CC was able to honor this legacy and provide a platform for artistic and empowering responses to sexual and gender based violence for students on our campus.