CloseUp Theatre held its performance titled Revelations with the theme “Rise Up Against Injustice” on Monday, Jan. 20. This event is one of several events held in celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. this past weekend.
The Student Center Auditorium crowded with people. With nearly every seat taken, some resorted to sitting on the floor or standing in the back. As the lights dimmed, the audience fell silent in anticipation.
Britney Winn, director of CloseUp Theatre, entered the stage for the last time. Revelations was her last show as director of CloseUp before she departs to begin her own theatre troupe.
Skits presented explored topics such as sexual assault, toxic masculinity, immigration reform, stereotypes, racism, homophobia, and social justice overall. During the skit “Taken” for instance, the audience was instructed to close their eyes to experience a soundscape intended to “make you a fly on the wall in a deportation experience.” In the skit “Too Black," the persecution and stereotyping of black women were explored. In another skit titled, “Unwritten Report," true stories of sexual abuse from troupe members were shared with the audience.
There were also comedic skits intended to, as Winn explained, “give the audience an emotional break.” Among others, these skits included Justice League, which explored the question “Is there such a thing as being too sensitive?” and Pass the Aux Cord, showing friends listening to music together paired with the message, “music shouldn’t define the person.”
“[CloseUp has] allowed me to grow in a sense of seeing other people’s truths and realities because the internet can only get us so far but when you’re right up close and you know people personally who live every day in those realities, it gives you a different feel for everyone,” explained Matthew Arnett who has been apart of CloseUp for one year.
Aisha Tahir also reflected on her time with CloseUp.
“Honestly, being a Muslim woman, like it was enough for everyone that I was Muslim. I was using that as a crutch to get me in different places, to get jobs, to get opportunities, and so I thought that would be enough to get me into CloseUp. I had to audition three times because it wasn’t enough. I failed twice. Well, not failed, but I didn’t make the cut twice and then I did the third time and it was because this was the first setting in which I was forced to figure out my identity because it wasn’t enough that I just wore a hijab. And I was mad about it at first but it really pushed me to find who I am and I’m grateful for that forever,” Tahir reflected.
Tahir performed in Revelations as her last show with CloseUp after three years of membership.
“This show specifically, I think it pushed all the limits that we’ve never pushed before. I think there were conversations, unfiltered conversations.” Tahir continued. “Like yes, we talked about hard topics in the past but not to this level of unfiltered. For me, this was my last show so this was a great way for me to end on.”