‘Valentines to my Hometown’ presents performance pieces from local residents

CONTACT Rape Crisis Center and the Marshall University Women’s Studies Program performed “Valentines to my Hometown” Saturday and Sunday at the B’Nai Sholom Congregation.

“Valentines to my Hometown” is a performance piece compiled of works written by men and women of Marshall and the local community.

Liz Deal, victim advocate of CONTACT, said performers were asked to tell true stories about themselves, especially those that relate to gender, identity and sexuality.

The performance was similar to “The Vagappalachialogues” performed last year by women’s studies program. This year, the event reached past women’s issues and included male works in the pieces and performances.

“They found a way to mix up the stories really well,” senior Allison White said. “One would be dark and depressing and the next would be really funny. I especially liked the hashtag piece. It perfectly mimicked how we communicate online these days.”

They found a way to mix up the stories really well. One would be dark and depressing and the next would be really funny.”

— senior Allison White

Those who contributed to the performance began by submitting an original monologue, poem, short story or nonfiction piece or by auditioning to perform. Some authors had their names with their works while others remained anonymous.

The performance began with the piece, “Hometown Valentines” written by Kristeena Wright, biomedical science doctorate candidate, and Laura Michele Diener, director of women’s studies.  Wright, and senior Katie Simmons performed the piece.

“Many of the pieces focus on issues specifically in West Virginia,” Diener said. “Kristen Steele performs a piece she wrote entitled ‘How to Say Appalachia,’ and Tatiana Castro and Katie Simmons perform a piece by Jocelyn Gibson entitled, ‘Down in the Valley.’”

The performance contained a variety of pieces ranging from serious and dramatic, to humorous.

“My favorite story was performed by Laura Diener,” White said. “It was about a girl having sex with her boyfriend when his roommate walked in—so awkward and funny.”

Proceeds of the event benefitted CONTACT, an organization that provides free and confidential services to victims of sexual assault.

Hannah Harman can be contacted at [email protected]