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Difficult Dialogues: An Interactive Theatre Performance and Workshop on Heterosexism

The Office of the Provost and the Teaching and Learning Center co-sponsored the event. Visiting Artist Dr. Suzanne Burgoyne, Curators’ Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of Missouri, and performed by Wake Forest Students. It was a depiction of a student project meeting which hidden feelings surfaced and transformed into offensive speech. Following the sketch, actors and actresses stayed in character to answer audience questions about their behavior. Although our behaviors are most often influenced by family, beliefs, life experiences, media, pop culture etc., each individual affected has a responsibility to be respectful of differences. In most difficult dialogues we should be aware that opinions vary, the stakes are usually high and emotions run deep. A difficult dialogue is a civil discussion of a controversial issue in which participants hold strongly differing views on the issue. In sum, the goal of a difficult dialogue is to foster understanding, respect for other views and listen attentively. Cristina, Wanda and I thoroughly enjoyed the performance and the interaction.