Hearing Voices is a theatrical showcase created by Samah Meghjee that centers around student experiences with mental health and illness. In 2018, I co-directed the inaugural show with fellow student Erin Oquindo. It has since evolved to represent specific and diverse members of the Emory community, highlighting Black Voices (Fall 2018) and LGBTQ+ Voices (Spring 2019) in its second year. In its third year it will again be produced twice, first as Hearing Voices: Where We're Really From, which will center on the Asian-American/International Student experience, and then as Hearing Voices: Self-Loathing, Self-Love, which will approach mental health by examining it under the lens of self-perception.
Photos by June Kwon.
Hearing Voices is a multi-medium, multi-locational performance art gallery focused on mental health and mental illness on college campuses. In the inaugural show, each of the five pieces in the gallery across campus were original pieces by Oxford students, ranging from monologues, large group scenes, movement pieces, and spoken word. They took place in the most intimate parts of campus that students interact with daily - public bathrooms, classrooms, and even students' own personal dorm rooms.
Duet scene inside of my dorm room.
Fatima Elfakahany, a facilitation guide and the President of Ox Pride, leads a test group during a dress rehearsal.
Each piece was intentionally curated to the space. One monologue, detailing a first year student's loneliness in their transition to college, was split among four separate actors in the same dorm room. The piece simulated that many students might experience mental illness with the belief that they are in isolation, but might not know that they are not alone. Facilitation by guides trained by Counseling and Psychiatric Services allowed for audience members to experience the show in intimate groups with significant and visible support.
A student performing her original monologue, accompanied by a corresponding movement piece.
Me performing a spoken word poem in the mirror of a public bathroom in the Oxford College Student Center.
An original scene, originally written as a monologue, performed in a double room.
An original scene, originally written as a monologue, performed in a large lecture classroom.