Writing Event #10: Letter Response

To those of the Mary Washington board, I would like to start this by saying that I do understand small aspecs f your decision. Your talk of budget during a crisis such as this is understandable, and so forth. However, I cannot deny the fact that not only are several aspects of your decisions not only unreasonable, but the decision to remove a core aspect of your school is a contrast to what you are trying to achieve as a university that specializes in Liberal Arts.

To start this off properly, one of your larger reasons for the consideration of the theatre program’s removal is very problematic, that in which being the suppression of controversial content. When I first heard your response in that letter, to be honest, I was shocked. A school that thrives off of making an equal place for all doing something like this? If anything, that decision is a large step backwards. As someone who grew up in a christian family (baptist), I understand to a degree where you’re coming from. I know there are many religions out there that don’t exactly think highly of some things, and can get very fired up about it. I’m very aware of it, especially given that one of my family members who I love dearly, actually is very weary of the LGBTQ community because he grew up in a time where it wasn’t as widely accepted as it is now. Simply put, he’s the classic close-minded hispanic dad. However, that does not mean I think it’s okay in any way. In fact, I don’t think being gay, transgender, or anything of the sorts is a sin. But no matter how hard we try, we’re not going to change everyone’s minds, and it’s a sad truth. So while I understand how you could “offend” some people with the plays you produce, I think it’s very important that these subjects are displayed to the public. People are going to get offended by lots of things, no matter how harmless it seems in concept. If people are sheltered to the many things the world, not only will they not be able to expand their own thought process, but in my opinion, sheltering people from lots of things in the world is just cowardly. It’s simply cowardice because although people will be exposed to lots of things as they grow up, it’s important that people are able to gain knowledge and opinions about things.

Lots of voices matter. Hearing different voices matters, even if you don’t necessarily agree with it yourself. Before my current theater class, I can’t lie when I say I wasn’t very fond of it. Not that I hated it, but given my twin is obsessed with it, let’s just say I found it more annoying than enjoyable in a sense. But being in a class like the one I’m in now, I value theater and what it brings us more than ever. People are so connected to theater because it gives representation to topics and world views that a lot of media is afraid to touch, and in a way, it could be pulled off in a way only theater could accomplish. It’s not just something where people act, they give value to the audience, and could give others to reflect on even today. I still remember the first time I watched a live musical (which was before the pandemic!), and I felt like I realized that magic, and I felt like I was in a completely different world. Experiencing theatre changes a lot of things, and learning about all kinds of theatre is a lot of fun to me.

Even if you don’t believe it, even if you want to shelter others from subject that people won’t like, theater is an important part of the pride of UMW. There’s no fear in speaking about things that are ‘taboo’ in your eyes, if anything, those ‘taboos’ are just things that society wants to hide under the dust. There is a place for theatre here, and I know I’m not the only one who thinks this way. I’m a person who dreams of writing things that will change the world, and theatre has changed the world and inspired so many! It’s helped with progression, getting voices to be heard like never before, and most of all, it makes you think. In a world where things are pretty busy, especially here in the DMV, theatre is a reminder that things can slow down. If you take the time to realize the things around, even if life isn’t what we expect at all, it can be beautiful. It seems a bit selfish of me to talk about how much I find theater fun, but I believe that a lot of other people think the same way. We’re a Liberal Arts college, we strive to makes all sorts of things known despite the advertises of the world. What makes theatre the exception to our progress?

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