Mass Transit freezes social conflicts

By Holly Feola – 1851 Staff

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Students sharing their thoughts on the performance during a “freeze” moment. Photo courtesy of Jesse Tauriac.

On April 8-9 Mass Transit Street Theater and Video (MTSTV ) and Lasell student actors held interactive performances in Brennan Library to educate students on social issues that may arise in their everyday lives. Attendees included students, faculty and administrators from the community.

MTSTV is a theater group that is known for their performances, films and workshops focused on how to deal with social conflicts. The theater group created skits from prevalent concepts within Lasell’s culture. A few topics integrated during the skits were international student struggles, homophobia, political prejudices, and sexism.

MTSTV began the event by introducing themselves and an explanation of the proceeding skits. The crowd was told to say “freeze,” stopping the skit so they could share their thoughts on the situation. After the audience shared why they froze the particular scene, the performers would adjust how they would handle the circumstance based on the input. The opportunity to freeze allowed other students to react to other peers and faculty members perspectives in the moment.

The event was organized by Assistant Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer Jesse Tauriac. Following the open forums regarding race last April, Associate Professor of Graphic Design Stephen Fischer informed Tauriac about MTSTV and thought having them on campus would be beneficial.

When talking about important takeaways from the production, Tauriac said, “I think being able to pause and to ask both folks what’s going on for you now?… [is] incredibly powerful because it allows us to see both perspectives and really analyze that in a meaningful way.”

Human Services Professor Kimberly Griffith required her classes to attend a session and take notes for a discussion next class. Griffith’s in-class discussions allowed students to reflect and share similar experiences MTSTV featured in their production. In addition to Human Services, Psychology classes and Honors 205 were in attendance.

When asked if these events with MTSTV could help make a difference on campus, first-year psychology major Kalli Arruda said, “I feel like it has the possibility to because even now it showed me that you have the power to say something, so do it now and more often.”

“This is actually very interesting, interactive, and fun it’s not a bunch of people who are talking to folks but instead people who are trying to get everyone involved and generate meaningful conversation that can fun, funny and deep at the same time” said Tauriac.

The performances inspired theater faculty to possibly have Lasell students put on interactive shows like MTSTV for their community. MTSTV is open to returning anytime and be available to help with Lasell’s own future productions.

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