How “Masculinity Max” production brought a community together

By Faith Jarrell

Elm Staff Writer

The Department of Theatre and Dance continued their series of SCE productions on Friday, April 7, and Saturday, April 8 at 7:30 p.m., with senior Archer Bergmann’s performance SCE “Excerpts from Masculinity Max.” 

Playwright MJ Kaufman wrote the full production script of “Masculinity Max.” The play’s EventBrite page described it as following a “newly out transgender man who grapples with toxic masculinity and what ‘being a man’ seems to mean to the people around him.”

According to Bergmann, the show focuses on dealing with toxic masculinity on several different levels. Only a few select scenes from the original show made it to the Tawes Experimental Theatre.

“In the scenes we are doing, the audience will see how [Max’s] relationship with his best friend differs through time as he is sort of influenced by toxic masculinity in his family and in his co-workers, and starts holding himself to those standards as well,” Bergmann said.

Bergmann is not only acting in the play for his SCE but is also the producer. Prior to his freshman year at Washington College, Bergmann had not been involved with theatre, but said after taking an acting class, they declared their theatre major.

Sound designer for “Excerpts from Masculinity Max” junior Sasha Dennis had even less experience, with this play being her first.

“I am not a theatre person at all,” Dennis said. “This is the first time I’ve done anything like this, so this has definitely been a very new experience for me. However, all things considered…the end product is really good.”

The play was not without its faults. Originally, the entire production of “Masculinity Max” was supposed to be performed, but the final product only included a few scenes. No details on the nature of these setbacks were provided.

Set designer junior Ally Allen said that although the process has been rocky, the end product displayed the crew’s dedication to the play.

“The production has been a bit rough, especially in the beginning, but it’s really smoothed out and we have been working hard,” Allen said. 

Despite hardships along the way, those working on the “Masculinity Max” team said that they gained something else — a community.

“My favorite part about this specific project was the community it created,” Bergmann said. “We have a really small team working on the show, but it’s almost all trans people and rehearsal turns into venting about issues sometimes and just being able to be very open of our experiences where we don’t have to filter things out.”

Dennis and Allen emphasized the sense of community during the production of the play and theatre’s ability to bring people together; even those who come from different levels of experience, such as Dennis.

“Being an outsider, I know nothing about theatre. I know nothing about putting on a show, acting, any of that. Although, it really is [like a family],” Dennis said.

The Department of Theatre and Dance’s final SCE of the season, senior Rose Hull’s “On the Verge,” will premiere in Tawes on April 21 and 22 at 7:30 p.m.

Elm Archive Photo

Photo Caption: “Masculinity Max” is one of three SCEs in the Department of Theatre and Dance this spring semester.

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