ABOUT THE PROJECT
Talene Monahon’s All In Good Fun fully captures the most difficult issues on college campuses: normalized high risk drinking and the resulting lack of accountability, acceptance of the hook-up culture, and under-reported sexual assault. Motivation to improve campus culture will surge for students, professors and administrators when presented with the clear truths of Monahon’s brilliant piece. -Cindy Pierce, College Speaker and Comic Storyteller
Monahon has created a work that is both deeply thought provoking and incredibly entertaining. Enriching the conversation surrounding controversial and delicate issues, All In Good Fun encourages awareness and understanding of individual experience. -Current Dartmouth student, Class of 2014
All in Good Fun opened to full houses at the Bentley Theater at The Hopkins Center for the Performing Arts on May 10, 2013, and will be performed at the United Solo Festival in NYC on October 25, 2013.
photo by Rob Strong
Talene was inspired by the practice of docu-theater, developed by the likes of Anna Deavere Smith, The Civilians, and The Tectonic Theater Project. As an actor, she was challenged and excited by the prospect of playing a diverse group of 28 different individuals, within the span of a single performance. She wanted to explore some of the issues that incited the most dialogue on campus.
When she began her interview process in September of 2012, the Dartmouth campus was pulsing with agitation for change. A Rolling Stone exposé had broken and the college was in the midst of reviewing its policies on campus hazing. The dialogue surrounding sexual assault was escalating and, in February, the Greek Leadership Council voted unanimously to reform the college’s sexual assault policy. The last few years have afforded the rise of the now ubiquitous smartphone: changing the social scene in palpable ways. Slinging an audio recorder, Talene conducted interviews with over forty individuals in some way connected to the campus community: alumni, faculty members, administrators, and—most prominently—students. People spoke about their experiences with Greek life, hazing, sexual assault, and the hook-up culture, but also about friendships, relationships, memories, and the things they cherished most about their college experience. As she began to develop a play about the college’s social scene, so many of the issues and experiences related through the interviews appeared to be interconnected and more complex than at first glance.
While All in Good Fun examines individuals within a specific place and time, the issues examined relate more broadly to America’s collegiate youth and the merging of higher education, socialization, and technology within a generation. Hazing, pledging, sexual assault and the complexities of gender identity are in the news on a regular basis and the issues faced by Dartmouth College are representative of those across the nation, rather than unique. All in Good Fun unpacks this idea of “fun”—what it means to “have fun,” the different ways in which college students have fun (or are prevented from having fun), and when and how that becomes problematic.
The New York Times and other news sources have identified similar issues at Swarthmore College, Occidental College, Wesleyan, Yale, Amherst, Notre Dame, USC, University of North Carolina, Binghamton, and State University of New York, to name a few. Talene believes that her audiences will find familiar voices and thought provoking issues from her diverse cast of characters.