Room 2-425 of Kresge was transformed into a safe space Monday night when 46 students came together to discuss queer presentation and the queer community as a whole at Northwestern. The discussion was organized in partnership by WAVE Production’s R&J and the Rainbow Alliance.
Sophomore Meredith Mackey, the producer of R&J, said the purpose of the dialogue was “to try and foster a space to open our show not only to the members of the team but to the general Northwestern community.”
The show itself brings up important questions about sexuality by putting a new take on the Shakespearean classic Romeo and Juliet. Instead of featuring a male and female lead, the show is a love story between two girls. While the play maintains 80 percent of Shakespeare’s original text, the other 20 percent is student-written material. Students Pauline Moll, Claire Glubiak and Mimi Reininga wrote seven original poems that are inserted throughout the play.
“We did all this in an attempt to set R&J in a modern context with tangible connections to the queer community, the Northwestern community,” Mackey said.
This dialogue was an extended effort to connect the show with the Northwestern community. While the discussion began by reviewing rules of safe spaces and posing general questions, the conversation was largely student-driven.
“We modeled it sort of after Sustained Dialogue and after the discussions that happened during Wildcat Welcome,” Moll said. “I think those are real growth spaces and learning opportunities.”
Becca Ehlers, the co-outreach director of R&J, stressed that the dialogue was designed to engage a broad audience and ensure that no one in the queer community felt “forgotten.”
Overall, all three organizers considered the discussion a success.
“We are so overwhelmed and thankful by the incredible honesty displayed in the conversations,” Mackey said. “We can’t wait to continue the conversation.”