A Nationwide Event of Unity & Resistance
January 20, 2017
On Inauguration Day in the United States, an event of resistance and unity will take place in 13 cities across the country, bringing together people of all ages, colors and political dispositions to share their personal stories about the 2016 election. The Election Monologues will take place in theatres and public spaces throughout America (and one in Canada) where groups of 6-10 people will share monologues about how the election has affected them.
Led by Tanya Taylor Rubinstein and Kerri Lowe and produced with the help of dozens of volunteer coordinators and facilitators across the country, the work stems from Rubinstein's StoryHealers Transformational Monologue process. Rubinstein has facilitated this process with hundreds of groups, including people who have experienced cancer, veterans, caregivers and hospice workers, LGBTQ youth and Israeli and Palestinian young women. After seeing so many of her adult solo performance students depressed and overwhelmed after the election, as well as experiencing a sense of paralyzing despair herself, Rubinstein decided that something needed to be done to heal people individually and collectively through the power of storytelling, writing and performance. Kerri Lowe, who regularly works with Tanya, had the same impulse.
This is not dogma. It's not a debate. It's not propaganda. This event is an opportunity to hear different perspectives around what the election of Donald Trump means to many types of individuals on a personal level. The aim is to humanize one another and offer a safe space for people to process through their intense feelings around this election. Everyone, no matter their political affiliation, is invited to participate and attend. All stories will be respected in this environment. We invite the press and the community to attend this once-in-a-lifetime event. Details for each participating city are linked below.
Statement from the Facilitators
Tanya Taylor Rubinstein
I began chewing on this idea a day or two after the US presidential election during an e-mail exchange between me and Kerri. Our conversation was catalyzed by an exchange she and her husband, Charlie Van Kirk had, about bringing people together to share personal stories of their responses to the 2016 election.
Then, in my year long solo performance class we started writing monologues and processing grief, devastation, resilience, resistance and everything else imaginable under the sun about the stories around this election.
I decided to facilitate and produce a story healing/grieving/ activation/performance evening in Santa Fe on Inauguration Day at the Santa Fe Art Institute.
Then, I posted on Facebook and asked my theater contacts, storytelling, solo performance and writer friends if they wanted to join in by facilitating/producing Election Monologues of their own, in cities and towns around the US.
So many powerful and incredible people jumped in and said YES! Now, we have thirteen shows happening that evening around the country, and one in Canada, in solidarity.
My intention and prayer is that we continue to align/ awaken to our own wholeness in this country, so that it may be reflected in the collective consciousness of our chosen leaders.
Let us affirm our own humanity, in the face of those, who do not know their own.
When I was nine years old, I wrote a "Note to Self" and hung it up in my bedroom. It said, "Note to Self: When your turn 15, become a Page in the NC House of Representatives." During our 4th grade social studies class, I had become enamored with the idea of a political body of representatives that shaped our laws through language. Though I knew the Senate was more prestigious, what I yearned for was the power of the pen - to write the words that would guide people in living their lives as productive citizens. I knew my future was to be wearing a pantsuit in a pretty white building - debating, listening, voting and writing in the interest of America.
But today, at 26, I am not in the House of Representatives, nor did I ever become a Page. By the time I turned 15, the theatre had grabbed me. My words were for scripts, my body was learning to be expressive and though I knew legislature could make change on a big scale, art could transform people one on one - and that was the kind of connection I desired.
To this day, art makes more sense to me than politics ever will. Discouraged by moneyed interests and a voting system where every vote isn't equal, I turn to writing, speaking and community to make my mark. I am proud to be facilitating New York City's Election Monologues as well as organizing the project nationally. May our words contribute to healing and unity among us, and may they act as resistance against those who seek to make our hearts suspicious and numb to our human connection.