Out of all the critical incidents we gathered, we picked four main issues that we felt were most important to students at CMU. From these issues, we developed a skit that we felt epitomized each one. We then preformed them so that audiences could give us their own interpretations. Here are the scripts of those skits and what we felt was going on.
This skit was developed while basing the characters upon the majors and corresponding traits of the CMU students we know. We intended to raise the question: why does interaction seem so one-dimensional? In the minds of the characters, nothing was going through their minds. For example, in the case of the two boys standing outside the door, they based their judgment of the two different girls simply upon appearance, without any thought to the girlsí characters. In this case, the stereotyping was more or less unintentional. It came across as second nature for each individual in the skit to categorize the persons they did not know, without thinking about it. Notice also, that their friend did not challenge their interpretations of the other characters. This is seen through the fact that the girls both seem to agree on what type of guys are standing outside their door. They brush them of as being typically ìFrat guys.î An ironic twist of college life is that although students live only a few feet from each other, they go about their life completely oblivious to others' conceptions of them and never confront their beliefs. This is the main focus of this skit, and in choosing to depict it, we had the difficult task of representing both the stereotypes as well as the ways in which those stereotypes prove to be false. The typical traits of what one would expect from the ìtypeî of characters portrayed were all skewed to reveal individuals, that had they interacted, would potentially get along.
This skit was to show the pressures that are present in each race groups and the different types of barriers, which block individuals who are trying to cross the borders of races. This groupís topic was voluntary segregation. Our class viewed this as one of the biggest problems that occurs on campus. In this skit, we depicted an Asian student who, choosing to socialize with a racially diverse group of students, is confronted by the expectations of individuals from within his own race. This skitís focus was to portray not only the interaction of different cultures, but more specifically the disapprovals from this characterís own race. It is important to ask the audience; therefore, what they think this character is feeling when put in this situation. One could assume that he feels torn, and pressured by his peerís disapproval. This disapproval often creates a big wall that makes it hard for people to go across different cultures. We believed that the disapproval from an individualís race is one of the main issues that stops or makes it harder for people to join or meet other race groups. While people often think that exclusionary pressure comes from a group that a foreign individual is attempting to join, this skit is showing that this pressure comes from other sources as well. Weíve learned in this class that even Asian students feel that other Asians look down upon socializing outside of ones race. This appears to be a somewhat hidden pressure if you do not recognize it, and this skit is attempting to point that out for a larger audience to understand.
skit presented the issue of cultural identity along with
the difficulty of dealing with language barriers.
In order to demonstrate the individual identity
of each character, brief monologues were used to
represent each characterís backgrounds and their
perception of their own identity.
After the monologues were presented, the four
characters interacted demonstrating how each oneís
perceptions related or did not relate to their actions.
For example, the American student, who felt she
was able to deal with diversity, was unable to
communicate properly with the international student.
The audience should take note of how this failure
to communicated impacts each character, for example,
what does the international student feel from this?
It can be assumed, based on the knowledge of this
character obtained in his monologue, that he would feel
would feel separated from the American culture, and
would experience the difficulties that arise from a lack
of language ability.
The second important interaction in this skit is
between the two Asian characters.
This depicts the pressure individuals feel from
within their own race, to attend/or act in certain ways.
It also deals with stereotyping because, once the
Asian-American character realizes that the other
character is half Japanese, she assumes that she
participates in all the typically ìAsianî
tension that surfaces between the two characters after
this stereotype is broken, depicts the difference that
an individualís identity and background has even
within similar races.
The importance of this skit is derived from the
audienceís ability to get inside the head of each
character, along with watching them interact, and
combining both sets of knowledge to draw conclusions
about what each character is experiencing.
last group functioned differently then the previous
groups, because it dealt with two topics: socio-economic
differences, and sexual orientation.
The members of this group felt that the
socio-economic issue was the most difficult to portray.
They felt this way because the inherent qualities
of this problem relate to whether or not your family has
the financial freedom to give you a certain amount of
spending money. Either
your family is paying tuition, or some sort of financial
assistance is, which makes this an issue that impacts
outside of normal ìclassroomî functions.
For this reason, this skit focused around the
socializing that occurs after class.
While this is not an academic issue, the negative
emotions that potentially arise from this difference
could possibly affect academic performance.
For example, the character that could not go out
with her friends, would feel the impact of this type of
difference to a greater extent than her friends.
The audience is left with the impression that her
feelings are strong.
She is unhappy with not being able to go out, and
feels extra pressure to perform better in her class, in
order to maintain her scholarship.
We are then left with the question of what do her
friends feel? Because they have never been in that situation, they
cannot relate to what she feels, and so they continue to
pressure her about going out, without knowing that they
are adding to her difficulties.
The fact that this issue is so easy to overlook
is what made it an important one to portray, and
hopefully through this portrayal students will become
aware of the sensitivity of this topic.
In the case of sexual orientation, the issue is less subtle, however it is an equally important topic. Sexual orientation is an issue that is being dealt with more and more, and we felt as a class, that we wanted to depict it in a unique way. For this reason we attempted to give the viewpoint of both gay and straight people. In order to do this the skit was focused around a bi-sexual woman talking to both groups. Although her comments to both groups of friends were non-sexual, each groupís response focused around her sexuality. This is an attempt to point out to our audience that while sexual orientation is an important issue, it is important to remember that it is only one aspect of an individualís life. We feel that what creates a barrier for the ìcross walkingî of this group is that people focus too much on the sexuality of another person. The bi-sexual character in this skit was fine separating her sexuality from her conversation, and was therefore able to deal with both groups of people. The problem came from the other groups being unable to interact with her. For both problems, it is important to note that a lot of the issues surrounding these topics are related to individualís mentality, and openness to recognizing other peopleís visions.