The lights were dimmed down, and the house was packed, as the “Swallow This!” performers lined up on either side of the stage on April 17 in the Tabler Arts Center’s Black Box Theatre.
“Swallow This!” a program run by the Center for Prevention & Outreach Health Education Office and the Department of Theatre Arts, performed dramatized real-life experiences of Stony Brook students involving alcohol and drug abuse. The show is designed to educate the audience about substance misuse, abuse and dependence.
The subjects vary from students who abuse drugs to students who have been sexually assaulted. One skit about suicide left a question for the audience to answer themselves, “have you ever wanted to be perfect?” Others portrayed girls wanting to be prettier, wishing they looked like their friends instead of themselves.
Yanil Nunez, a sociology and psychology double-major, thought the performance “was a creative way to address a lot of campus issues.” One skit that really stood out for Nunez was the story of a girl who had been sexually assaulted.
“I was actually really shocked the sexual assault skit was so short in comparison to others, Nunez said. “I am well aware that these cases do occur on campus so I would have liked to see more emphasis on it.”
Another well-performed bit was on drug abuse, and included the performers running around the room. “The performance was great. They covered almost every aspect that young students encounter during their college career,” said Matilde Acevedo, a Spanish and sociology double-major.
Following the prepared performances, they opened it up to improvisation, asking the audience if anyone had any stories they wanted them to perform. The actors were given three minutes to consult and then acted out a scene written on a card by an audience member. The improv was a really cool way of giving the audience a chance to get involved
“It offers valuable information regarding campus resources for different issues while still maintaining the audience members attention through entertainment,” Nunez said.
As the performance came to a close, there was unison hand clapping as the house lights slowly turned back on and people started making their way to the doors. It was a performance that everyone in the audience should keep in mind because things like drug abuse and suicide can occur anywhere. It helps to be reminded that it can happen on campus as well. Now swallow that.