Their voices echoed through the silent chapel, bounced off the walls, and left the audience stunned with the immense power and meaning of the stories. This past week, Wheaton students took part in the Wheaton Words event and recited various monologues to students, faculty, and local community members. The monologues were performed on three different nights, each time delivering the same meaningful messages. It was evident that these detailed monologues were written with passion and performed with a purpose. Some were written personally by the performers and others merely recited. Nonetheless, each one was equally as impressive. The creativity flowed naturally from the students and resulted in beautiful, raw performances. Topics of discussion included: sexuality, body image, eating disorders, and more. Some stories were short and others long, however, the length did not appear to matter as the real meaning was in the words.
At the beginning of the show, the audience was asked not to applaud. It was only later on that I realized how much of an impact this really had. There was a silence in the chapel that caused the words to increase in influence and the messages to come across with a certain direct force. Before every monologue, there was anticipation in the air as the audience wondered what powerful words would come next. After every monologue, there were a few snaps and then intense silence as the audience soaked in every word.
As voice after voice echoed through the chapel, there was a clarity and sense of reality that fell upon everyone. I believe this event spoke to the profound meaning of the human language and the tremendous power in the ability to speak our minds. Words can be used to influence, create, and destruct. However, for these Wheaton students, words were also used to raise awareness, speak difficult truth, and express what makes them powerful and worthy.