Here's what people have to say!
Video was filmed in 2012 and donated by Ryan Sturgis with True Facade Pictures.
Testimonials from Participants
Sara, a survivor who dedicated her story to “When…”
“My name is Sarah. I am a survivor of sexual abuse and violence. The spring semester of my sophomore year I was sexually assaulted by a co-worker, I let it go.
“One night while working in the computer lab my friend shared that his girl friend was a sexual assault victim helper, so to speak (I don’t recall his exact words). I decided to share my story with him, I knew that Megan had done the Clothesline Project and it was something that after my recent experience thought that I might get involved in. He told me that Megan would love to talk to me about it and put her in contact with me.
“Megan sent me an email with a bunch of future possibilities, if I was comfortable, and I knew that I wanted in. We met a few times and she explained the performance to me and asked if I wanted to donate my story being that the Clothesline Project would not be going up that particular semester. She reassured me that it would only be loosely based on my experience and I would be kept anonymous. I was excited to share my story.
“Megan made me feel like I could have a voice, a powerful one. I had told my friends what had happened to me and I had quiet a few mixed reactions, some wanted to kick his butt, one pushed me to turn him in, and one even went as far to tell me that it was all my fault that I put myself in that position. Megan helped me settle the torn emotion that I had to deal with, that it wasn’t my fault; she gave me the opportunity to deal with it rather then push it away and try to forget. She introduced me to the cast.
“Megan invited me to come to a rehearsal and talk with the cast so that they could have a better understanding of the scene and to assure that I was comfortable with the information being shared in the scene. When I met the cast it was like having my very own support group. When I spoke, when I shared my story with them, they were all on my side and listened openly. I felt comfortable I was no longer anxious or numb. The experience opened me up and filled me with pride; I knew that I had done something good.
“I felt honored at the performance; it was a very humble honor to have that I had been a part of When… and no one knew but me. I enjoyed watching what a success it was with the audience and it made the honor greater, I held my head a little higher. I felt like I was no longer a victim, I am a survivor.”
Andy Gullikson, actor in “When…”
“There are events in which we become involved that have the potential to cleanse us of our demons, to truly enact the intangible ideal of Karma into something real – something you can truly measure and reflect upon. I had the rare opportunity to take part in my personal retribution with “When…”, and it is something truly life changing. I was in a relationship for many years, and because of some psychological problems, I became violent and verbally abusive. Though I never touched the poor girl when I was angry, I did manage to break her personal possessions and my own when we would fight. Several years later when Megan approached me with open arms asking me to partake in “When…”, I knew there was a chance to find that redemption I needed. Everyone was more than willing to accept me in the group, and the subject matter we covered was so real to me it was hard at times. When we performed, the reactions that were sparked were from expected to far-fetched, but everyone walked away thinking, and THAT was incredible to witness. If there were other schools that were able to feel, to see, to begin to understand what we the actors all discovered, than I think there’s a chance for real change.”
Jessica Dougherty, audience member
“Last spring I attended the performance of When… written, directed, and mediated by Megan Rae. Once everyone was settled Ms. Rae welcomed everyone and explained the format of the event; first there was a short play about social victimization and then there would be a few improvisation based scenes that would include audience participation. The short play was very interesting because in the play you are given the perspectives of each character; this allowed you to see what people’s intentions were and how they affected the survivor. After the short play, we had a discussion about what had happened and how certain tactics of intervening were not effective even if they were well intended.
“The next portion of the event was a series of different improvisational scenes. First we were shown a scene, then Ms. Rae asked the audience what tactic could have been used by bystanders in the scene to prevent or stop the abuse. Someone would suggest a method of intervening and the scene would be done over with an actor using the suggested tactic. This was very interesting because it allowed all of us in the audience to see if it would be effective or not. The scene was played out until there was a scenario that worked and sometimes involved audience members acting with the actors.
“One of my favorite scenes involved role reversal. It was a scene where a man was being verbally abused by a woman. I was shocked to find that the audience, myself included, found this somehow more acceptable. Then the same scene was done with two women, and again I was disturbed how it seemed to be more socially okay with everyone because they were of the both female.
“Overall the event When… was a highly educational and eye opening experience. It made me think about what to do to intervene in abusive situations and how to prevent them in my own life. It also made me rethink what I had done in past experiences when approached by friends who were being victimized and how I may have handled that differently. I highly recommend sponsoring this event, it is something I think everyone can learn and grow from.”
Megan Olchorlski, actress in “When…”
“My name is Megan Orcholski and I am currently a Graduate teaching assistant in Speech Communication at University of Minnesota, Mankato. I have an undergraduate degree in Speech Communication and Theater Arts with a minor in English. I currently teach the basic speech course, but I often joke that I am really a theater person sneaking around in the world of communication. My passion lies in performance; I have directed children’s’ theater, taught theater at a conservatory in Chicago and currently focus on performance studies. Along with theater, I have competed in competitive speech (Forensics) and now coach, my involvement going on 14 years. In Forensics, our performances tend to focus on a social issue or argument and my theater past has often been the type of theater that works for awareness or change. My professor personally emailed me and suggested I contact with Megan Rae about being involved with “When,” though at that time, it was just a concept about spreading awareness about abuse through performance. I was immediately interested. When Megan started talking, I knew this was exactly the place to put what little time I had, in fact, that I should make room for this.
“Above and beyond the academic side, her cause was something that I could also get behind.
Abuse, rape, sexual violence and other things of these nature send my blood boiling. Though I do not have one specific incident that changed my life, I know many who have. I have heard their stories. And I have my own situations where I definitely felt the oppression that Megan is fighting against. We need everybody aware, we need every one fighting.
““When…” was such a positive performance. I was able to experience other people’s personal stories, tell my own and be a part of educating not only the audience, but myself. One of the most memorable moments was in one scene, I played the victim. The scene was set at a college party where I was sexually assaulted. (of course it wasn’t that graphic on stage, a lot was implied for after the scene ended) We had practiced several scenarios of different intervention tactics and risk management, but on the night of the performance we got a new one. The audience wanted us to switch roles; they wanted me the woman, to be the aggressor. Well, we had never practiced it like that! I was struck at how different it was being on that end, and how easy it was with no intervention and how well the role play worked. It was quite a testament to the method. Also, the audience perceptions were extremely interesting. When the man had been the one doing the pursuing, it was abuse. When it was me, it was considered sexy. Many people said that the guy would have been made fun of for turning me down, playing into the stereotype that men never say no. Also, while he would be chastised for not taking me up on my offers, I would be labeled a “slut” or “easy.” It was really emotional and educational to be on that side. It was very obvious to me that this type of theatre does work, it explores stereotypes and educates an entire audience. And it really lets the audience explore these ideas themselves. It was an honor to be a part of “When…”, it truly opened my eyes and allowed me to not only express my own opinions on the matter, but hear those of others in an open and safe environment. I hope there is some place for me to do more in the future!!”