Giving Voice Productions has four original plays in its on the controversial topic of teenage sexuality.
Our first play, Power to Pleasing: The Sex Lives of Teenage Girls, and it’s companion play, Pressure to Prove: The Sex Lives of Teenage Boys, both offer intimate glimpses into the real stories and challenges of today’s youth. The third play in the trilogy, Promiscuity, Passion and Promises: The Sex Lives of Teenagers brings girls and boys voices together with stories of hope, humor and a look toward healing. Our fourth production, Hook-ups and Hang-ups: College Students Speak Out addresses the controversial issues facing students living in the culture of Denison University. In 2013 GVP collaborated with NYC based production company Convergences Theatre Collective to produce the first ever staging of composer Chris Mohr’s epic opera, From the Realm of the Shadow.
Power to Pleasing: The Sex Lives of Teenage Girls. Conceived/Written/Performed by: Christa Ray, Liz Stanton, Bethany Jean Urban. Photo Credit: Pamela Traynor Power to Pleasing is a theatrical performance/event staged in a ladies bathroom. Outrageous, real teen stories are performed in an intimate setting, with stunning light effects and a contemporary look at age-old issues that women as well as men, from teens to adults, can relate to. The audience not only watches the actors, but themselves and each other in the mirrors. That, and the crowded environment of audience members standing shoulder to shoulder and actors moving through them to and from the stalls, creates a visceral tension and excitement that intensifies the somatic experience of the raw, honest stories being shared. One audience member said, “It’s more of an event than theater.” The show first premiered at Naropa University, Boulder Colorado in February, 2005. Other performance runs include: August 21-27, 2005 Boulder International Fringe Festival April, 2006 University of Colorado for theater department and Farrand Hall August, 2006 Boulder International Fringe Festival September, 2006 and 2007 University of Colorado, Farrand Hall December, 2006 Dairy Center for the Arts, Boulder, CO May 10-20, 2007 Dairy Center for the Arts, Boulder, CO May 16-24, 2008 Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival August, 2008 Boulder International Fringe Festival September, 2008 University of Colorado, Farrand Hall February, 2009 Denison University, Theater Department and Shorney Hall January 29-30, 2010 Denison University “A true example of how performance art can be truly meaningful to society” Writers, actors and producers Christa Ray, Liz Stanton and Bethany Jean Urban are graduates of Naropa University’s 2006 MFA Class. Several works were developed during Tectonic Theater Project’s residency in the program. Under the guidance of Pulitzer Prize–winning playwright Moisés Kaufman and Leigh Fondakowski, head writer of The Laramie Project, Power to Pleasing was one of the plays to emerge. “Edgy, brave, speaking what needs to be spoken” Power to Pleasing: The Sex Lives of Teenage Girls appeared as part of the 2005 and 2006 Boulder International Fringe Festival and was selected “Pick of the Fringe” both years. All shows are followed by a talk-back with the artists. Shows are often arranged for special audiences such as ‘All Teens,’ ‘All Male,’ ‘Parent/Child.’ “I was moved for days after the show” Post-show talk-backs for these audiences focus on issues and experiences pertaining to these special audiences. The talk-back circles involve community dialogue and the sharing of reactions to the show, as well as personal stories told by audience members. Because of the highly charged nature of the performance, the talk-back offers audience members a chance to process their emotional reactions and decompress, before leaving the theater. A really necessary piece of theatre. I’m just glad that there are people out there prepared to tackle issues and do so with wit, insight and ingenuity. And even better, they openly encourage discussion about their...read more
Pressure to Prove: The Sex Lives of Teenage Boys. Produced/Conceived/Directed by: the creators of Power to Pleasing: The Sex Lives of Teenage Girls Funny, poignant, edgy… an intimate glimpse into the internal and external pressures in the lives of boys coming of age in our sexualized culture. The play is based on the real stories of boys giving voice to often unspoken topics. Premiered at The Dairy Center for the Arts as part of the Boulder International Fringe Festival in August, 2007. Performed/Co-Created by: Robert Paul Ryan, J Brommel, Ian Colson Design by: Pamela Traynor Photo Credit: Pamela Traynor Writers, actors and producers Christa Ray, Liz Stanton and Bethany Jean Urban are graduates of Naropa University’s 2006 MFA Class. Several works were developed during Tectonic Theater’s residency in the program. Under the guidance of Pulitzer Prize–winning playwright Moisés Kaufman and Leigh Fondakowski, head writer of The Laramie Project, Power to Pleasing: The Sex Lives of Teenage Girls was one of the plays to emerge. It has been a two-time winner of the “Pick of the Fringe” at the Boulder International Fringe Festival. Pressure to Prove was created (using the same performance generating techniques) as a companion piece to Power to Pleasing, and to respond to audiences who asked, “What is the boy’s point of view?” While I do agree this show has a much larger potential, it is still one of the most open, honest pieces I’ve seen in a long time – and dealing with some very heavy subjects. Great job to everyone involved! Good show!” *** What really happens inside a boy’s bedroom? or locker room? or in his head and heart? These are real stories, telling it (sex stories) like it is. It is important work to reveal the male side with honesty and vulnerability…thank you.” *** Every woman, man, mother, father, educator, health professional, teen over 16 should see this show. Impeccably acted and portrayed. A powerful off shoot of the brilliant women’s piece-Power to Pleasing. Bravo!” *** Great. Deep. Real. That special quality when nothing is being pushed….wonderful acting. A gift to our culture…”...read more
Promiscuity, Passion and Promises: The Sex Lives of Teenagers. Conceived/Written by: Christa Ray, Liz Stanton, Bethany Jean Urban and Ensemble From the creators of the award winning Power to Pleasing: The Sex Lives of Teenage Girls, and Pressure to Prove: The Sex Lives of Teenage Boys comes the third play in Giving Voice Productions trilogy on teenage sexuality. This show brings girls and boys voices together to address the challenging issues facing teenagers with hope, humor and a look toward healing. Directed by: Bethany Jean Urban Sound Design by: Liz Stanton Production Manager: Christa Ray Performed by: Toni Bradford, Jessica Fein, Chris Hatfield, Kevin Lowry, Janna Meiring, Christa Ray, Melissa Seelig and Brock Williams. Stage Manager: Alex Hughes Photo Credit: Justin Davis Darenzo “We explored some new territory this time, including a trans-gendered character, positive first time stories, positive role models and mentors, and sex and dating in the technology generation. While our previous two pieces tended toward the harsher realities of teen sexuality, this piece looked toward healing. We still had difficult material in the piece, such as suicide and sexual violence (two huge issues facing today’s teens), but most characters found their way through to the other side and claimed their strength, their healing, and their voices.” ~Christa Ray Show premiered November 12-14, 2009 at the Dairy Center for the Arts, Boulder, CO and was followed by audience discussions and feedback to help the company take the play into its next phase of development. People don’t get how hard it is to be a teen, but you guys got it – whether it’s me or someone I know, I know every person in this play.” As a parent of a pre-teen, I cannot thank you enough for this brilliant production. Everything I have read and heard (and more) was here. It is hard not to be emotional just thinking about it.” ...read more
Hook-ups and Hang-ups: College Students Speak Out. Conceived and created by: Liz Stanton, Bethany Urban, Christa Ray and the Student Ensemble at Denison University during Giving Voice Productions’ five week residency at the university. Directed by: Liz Stanton and Bethany Jean Urban. Performed by: Aleksandra Panovska, Ammon Hollister, Carly Baird, Christa Nannos, Jessica Blaise, Kaitlyn Grissom, Kristine Aman, Sydney Camel, Sam Kaiser Photo Credit: Coralline Breuer Hook-ups and Hang-ups – At Denison University the student ensemble generated the raw material for Hook-Ups and Hang-Ups: College Students Speak Out. This play focused primarily on the college experience by examining the social culture of Denison. Student interviews, research and personal writing revealed the relevant themes of self-esteem, identity, race relations, partying, hook-ups, and sexuality, which were then dramatized with respect and humor. This project would not have been possible without generous funding and support from: Denison University Women’s Studies department Laura C. Harris Fund English Department Beck Fund Theatre Department Vail Arts Series Residential Life Women’s Resource Center Alcohol, Drug and Health Education Comments from our student cast at Denison University: • • • I never knew I could be so creative. When we were limited to making moments simply with architecture, lights, sounds, or costumes/props, it really forced me to think outside the box and find ways to make theatre without any dialog.” I feel like I’m more comfortable talking about issues and topics that make people squirm. And I’m really glad for that, because those are exactly the kinds of things that need to be discussed. My experience was one of the most rewarding and liberating decisions of my time in college” ~Aleks Panovska • • • I really enjoy the vocal work. I’ve always considered myself a quiet person, but I’m realizing that I am capable of filling a room with my voice, and I’m excited to do more with that.” ~Kristine Aman • • • This process has allowed me to see many issues that I had not thought about. I have loved being able to address these issues in a creative and theatrical manner. I also want to take the emotional strength/stability that I gained here and carry it with me throughout my life.” ~Ammon Hollister • • • Every one of the workshops was exhilarating and eye-opening. It helps me to realize my creative capabilities, and expands my idea of what is theatrically possible. I have ended up creating things I would have never attempted to do otherwise.” ~Kristine Aman • • • This was an amazing experience and I would never trade it for anything.” ~Carly...read more
From The Realm of the Shadow: A Contemporary Dance Theatre Staging of an Epic Opera. Opera score created by Chris Mohr, Directed and Choreographed by Jeremy Williams, produced by Chris Mohr, Giving Voice Productions and Convergences Theatre Collective. Leading roles, Christa Ray, Claude Aubourg, Victor Carinha. For a complete list of the NYC cast and production team please visit: www.FromtheRealmoftheShadow.com Factions are at war. A woman is raped. A child is born whose radiance inspires healing and reconciliation. A hero’s journey, a woman’s awakening, celebration, a tragic loss. Will the factions come to peace? Composer Chris Mohr was 19 years old when he barely rescued a young woman from a gang-rape and confronted our “Shadow,” that which we reject in ourselves. The epic musical journey takes the audience on a journey through violence, trauma, healing, forgiveness, and finally that healing peace which even the most reprehensible acts cannot destroy. Chris Mohr joined creative forces with theatre artists Christa Ray (of Giving Voice Productions) and Jeremy Williams (of Convergences Theatre Collective) to create the first-ever staging of this epic music drama through dance/physical acting. Premiered in NYC May 2-3, 2013 at the Riverside Church Theater Audience Engagement events with performance excerpts and discussion with artists in Denver, CO at the Mercury Café: June 2, 2013 Boulder, CO at Naropa University, June 3, 2013 The battles between the light and dark forces inherent in the spirit world are approached in an appealing, unique and unusual way. Because of the rhythmic force… the work lends itself to a powerful dance, music and multi-media production” ~David Taylor, David Taylor Dance Theater Your production was just wonderful; I wanted to step outside and cry and then return to the beautiful overwhelming music.” The “opera” was beautiful in all ways… it is a dance performance that tells a powerful story. I would love to see a big budget production with your vocalists and choir and all the instruments. This is a beautiful work of art.”...read more