the solo play with music
Two things threaten a grad student's dissertation on Virginia Woolf: her hot new girlfriend and her own dark past. Confronted by echoes of sexual violence in Woolf's text, grad student Marais races to write herself into a happier future. Her creative and classroom work grow inventive—even sensual experience becomes a medium for discovery—as she strives for a love greater than any she's known before. But after you learn to guard against life, can you open up again?
SKIN is directed by Jessi D. Hill, with original music by Hope Singsen, Bob Parins, Dillon Kondor and Micah Burgess. Watch video excerpts or meet the SKIN team.
Workshops That Blend Research & Practice
Writing Your #HealMeToo Moment: Where the healing of sharing our stories is guided by insights about form, pedagogy and neuropsychology.
Singsen draws on her training as a writer and performer, as well as her research into neuropsychology and pedagogies of performance and fiction, to help students craft their own narratives as an aid in healing. Setting guiderails that create a safe space and teaching structural analysis tools that provoke discovery and transformation, this workshop offers students a creative process that’s healing for artists and audiences alike. Read Singsen’s lecture on the pedagogy of SKIN
The Touch of Creativity: A research-based exploration of the neuropsychological, sensory, and phenomenological impacts of creativity.
This workshop blends theory with practice, as Singsen outlines the phenomenological, developmental, neurobiological, and clinical aspects of her research into healing through the arts. At each step, participatory experiences prompt observations about the senses, sense memory, and imagination, ultimately inspiring curiosity about the novel modes of ideation, neuro-processing, and healing that may be kindled through embodied creative practice. See more Art/Sci Collaborations
Impacts & Assessments
Singsen conducts audience surveys, talkbacks and one-on-one interviews following performances of SKIN to measure its impacts and explore the sensory, emotional and cognitive effects of embodied creativity. At the Alliance for Arts in Research Universities national conference in November 2018, she presented this research on a discussion panel addressing neuroaesthetics and the use of the arts in public health.
Post-performance assessments have demonstrated that artists, students, scholars, scientists, and, especially, survivors and their supporters respond to SKIN and its co-curricular events in powerful ways.
One grad student described SKIN as a turning point in her journey of recovery.
A dance student raced home to choreograph her own story of healing.
Another immediately wrote and posted a love poem, quoting the play.
A drama major/math minor interviewed Singsen on pairing science with art.
A student investigating bullying started to discern the links between vulnerability and shame.
Students and faculty alike reported that SKIN gave voice to their struggles and breakthroughs in academic writing.
"Anyone writing a thesis should see this play."
--Vassar College Administrator
Dutchess community College student, Class of '18
“I share very similar experiences and I’ve never met anyone who ...with such kindness and gentleness ...told their story so raw. It was incredibly beautiful and I don’t think I’ll ever feel alone in this again.”
Vassar College student, class of '19
“There is something truly magical in the way you’ve managed to combine love, hardship, passion, and memory into art. SKIN was one of the most engaging and honest shows I’ve ever seen.”
jaye murray, executive director, counseling support program, nyc dept of education
"Empowering. Inspiring. Funny! A critically important topic handled sensitively and creatively. Thank you!"
Zoe Ridolfi-starr, columbia university class of '15 and co-founder of no red tape with The mattress project's emma sulkowicz
"I connected deeply with SKIN. ...I highly recommend this play for anyone who has confronted trauma--or cares about someone who has."
Photos: ©Karl Rabe/Vassar College