Coming up in April is “Confessions in Living Color(ed)” — the culmination of senior Monica Prince’s
Honors project. Prince, a creative writing major with a self-designed minor in the pedagogy of poetry,
hopes the performance will bring more representation of diversity to the 83 percent white Knox campus, particularly in the theatre department.
Inspired by the more diversified production of “Angels in America” done by the Knox theatre
department in 2010, Prince wanted to bring more diversity to the Knox stages. This inspiration was
fueled by her work co-directing a production of the choreopoem “For Colored Girls” with senior Kristen
Bridges. (A choreopoem is a choreographed series of poems that incorporates dance, songs, music and theatrics.)
This passion to create her own choreopoem is coming to a head as Prince’s Honors project goes its
course. It started, though, as a desire to formulate poems from interviews Prince collected from college-aged people of color at the University of Oregon last summer.
Prince asked these students questions such as: “What is necessary to live the best life possible?” and
then wrote poems based on different aspects of their interviews. She then crafted her own choreopoem based on these poems as well as others she had written. At the end of this process, she had nine poems, each assigned to one of nine characters.
Last term, Prince submitted her script for “Confessions in Living Color(ed)” to her Honors committee,
which is made up of Lecturer in Educational Studies Barry Swanson, Visiting Assistant Professor of
English Chad Simpson and Chair of Gender and Women’s Studies Magali Roy-Fequire.
In conjunction with the choreopoem, she is writing a thesis paper which claims “young people of color
have a particularly more difficult time defining themselves because of stereotypes, cultural biases and
Prince is now putting on her piece with a large group of Knox students along with three choreographers, an assistant director, stage manager, costume designer and others, or what Prince describes as “the whole crew.”
“I’m trying to teach my actors the whole spoken-word format, teaching them how to read poetry,”
She has been interested in the spoken-word poetry style since high school, during which
she became “addicted to watching ‘Def Poetry Jam’.” Prince recalled one particular instance where she
recited a piece of her slam poetry about her ex-boyfriend at a school talent show.
“Spoken word and slam are the best ways to communicate,” Prince said. “Even if you don’t catch all the words, there is going to be one statement that resonates with you after you leave.”
Throughout the performance of “Confessions in Living Color(ed)” audience members are encouraged
to react to the performances. Prince hopes they will see parts of themselves in what is going on to get a sense of “where they are,” though she emphasized that “the [students] that are speaking are students of color because they are the ones who need to speak up.”
“I’m creating art that I hope changes people,” Prince said. “I want to keep writing choreopoems…I want to keep writing people’s experiences.”
“Confessions in Living Color(ed)” is scheduled to run April 18-21 this year.