Student Showcase Presents the ‘Divided States of America’

On February 20, pre-professional theater student Kelly Bok presented her politically minded senior showcase in the Board of Visitors Lounge. The showcase was Bok’s personal reflection on the national theater movement, “Bad Hombres and Nasty Women.”

This group has helped to organize nationwide DIY performances that all took place on Presidents Day. The majority of students and community members who arranged their own theater pieces under this movement titled their showcases “Not My President’s Day,” in correlation with the organization’s proposed title. However, E&H student Kelly Bok wanted to name her showcase something different. “The fact of the matter is he was sworn in. He’s our president. Saying ‘not my president’ isn’t going to change that. What we can actively change is what we do as activists, what we do as community members, and how we interact with our government,” explained Bok, in the opening of her showcase.

“The fact of the matter is he was sworn in. He’s our president. Saying ‘not my president’ isn’t going to change that. What we can actively change is what we do as activists, what we do as community members, and how we interact with our government,” explained Bok, in the opening of her showcase.

Bok thought the night was successful, due to the amount of conversation that took place at the showcase.“At the end of the day, that was my goal. [It] was to create a dialogue about these issues and to create a dialogue on this campus,” said Bok. She was happy to see that several professors came to the event, as well as people with different opinions on issues related to the Trump administration.

“At the end of the day, that was my goal. [It] was to create a dialogue about these issues and to create a dialogue on this campus,” said Bok. She was happy to see that several professors came to the event, as well as people with different opinions on issues related to the Trump administration. As an Honors student, Bok is required to do a senior thesis. And as an acting BFA student, she is also required to do a senior project. Since she is writing her thesis on how theater is a good medium through which discuss politics, the Divided States of America became a way to personally explore that idea.

As an Honors student, Bok is required to do a senior thesis. And as an acting BFA student, she is also required to do a senior project. Since she is writing her thesis on how theater is a good medium through which discuss politics, the Divided States of America became a way to personally explore that idea. “I wanted to try it out myself, and see how well it works,” said Bok. “So then it was just picking a topic and then putting it into practice.”

“I wanted to try it out myself, and see how well it works,” said Bok. “So then it was just picking a topic and then putting it into practice.”
Bok was mentored by Dr. Bremnar throughout the production of the Divided States of America. The showcase was a kind of applied theater, which bridges what happens on stage to what happens in communities, according to Dr. Bremnar. “She kind of wed the two,” said Dr. Bremnar. “She said, ‘could I do an applied theater piece in chorus with that national theater movement.’ This was her brainchild to see if she could use what she’d been learning in

“She kind of wed the two,” said Dr. Bremnar. “She said, ‘could I do an applied theater piece in chorus with that national theater movement.’ This was her brainchild to see if she could use what she’d been learning in applied theater to start a dialogue about the election.” Bok

Bok was introduced to applied theater about a year ago in one of Dr. Bremnar’s classes, and she has been interested in the art form ever since. Last summer, she interned at the local Barter Theatre with Project Reel, which does applied theater in the public school system. “I feel incredibly called to do it. This is the type of work this world needs more of, and I definitely want to go out into the world and create this work,” said Bok.

“I feel incredibly called to do it. This is the type of work this world needs more of, and I definitely want to go out into the world and create this work,” said Bok.
At the end of the showcase, every audience member was encouraged to stand up and say aloud what they were thankful for in the next four years. The answers ranged from a student’s cat to the support of friends and family. “I was incredibly blessed with the group I had tonight and their willingness to speak on the subjects,” said Bok.

“I was incredibly blessed with the group I had tonight and their willingness to speak on the subjects,” said Bok.
The main performers in the Divided States of America showcase, alongside Bok herself, were Maxine Poole, Sam Page, Olivia Allen, and Rachel Hubble.

– Orion Rummler

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