Entertainment
Valmai Goggin directs and Sasha Barry acts in Sexxxy, playing in the University Theatre Thursday and Friday.
the Gauntlet

Frosh should learn to stay safe with Sexxxy

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Sexxxy is the drama department's easiest play to check out. Theoretically, it's mandatory to see as part of orientation week. But ask a lot of students if they've actually seen the play and it seems that there's always one overriding problem. Most people heard that it's a great play, but actually haven't seen it because they've skipped out.

It's an integral part of orientation week for a reason. The play is a partnership between the University of Calgary's drama department and the sexual harassment office, located in Math Sciences 261 and 263. The play has been a frosh week staple for the past 12 years and has received great acclaim from students through surveys according to Shirley Voyna-Wilson, the University of Calgary's sexual harrassment officer.

"The play is about four students at the University of Calgary from very different and diverse backgrounds and the play ostensibly covers a whole year at the U of C," says Goggin. "They run into some issues, some good, some bad, but every year the director and the cast bring their own personal touch to it."

The play helps to inform students, explaining myths, facts and providing information about sex, sexual harassment and sexual assault.

"This is our twelfth year and the project originated . . . because these issues were very, very important and there were better ways to deliver the information to large groups in a way that would be memorable, compelling and people would relate to it," says Voyna-Wilson.

This year's performance had some minor hiccups along the way. Instead of the regular three-week rehearsal time, the cast and crew found themselves with a comparatively slim two weeks. Goggin stepped up to the plate and focused on updating the performance, helping with some minor re-writes meant to tweak the script.

"What happened this year, just for timing's sake, is that I did most of the re-writes in advance to save us time," says Goggin. "The actors came in and spent a couple days workshopping, updating dialogue and updating scenes, and ensuring that we're giving them the most accurate information possible."

Voyna-Wilson quickly interjects, stressing that the show always aims to keep relevant for the fickle frosh.

"The music is updated all the time, to keep with the current times," she says. "It comes across as fresh every year, and that's because of the updating and personalization, as [Goggin] says."

On the production side, all actors are students from the drama department. Sasha Berry, who performed in the Calgary Fringe Festival before landing a role in Sexxxy, says that this is her first acting job in a professional setting, which means it's a real honour to perform in the play.

"This is my first pre-professional experience, so it's pretty sweet to get paid for what you love," she says. "We didn't have a whole lot of time, but I was really surprised -- in a good way -- of the dedication of everyone there: the cast, the crew, the director, the designer. They were there at every single rehearsal. I was really impressed by everyone's superior dedication and we came out with an amazing show this year in a time that most shows get started with."

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