For years, the “F” word has been synonymous with anger, vulgarity and Judd Apatow films. The F-Word Theater Company, however, has given the phrase a whole new meaning: free.
The group, which was founded at Ohio University in January 2010, began with a simple chat, said Arielle Rogers, one of the group’s founders. Rogers, who graduated with a bachelor in theater performance, was auditioning for a Lost Flamingo Company show when she and a few others began to tell stories about their days and Rogers’ recent breakup.
Rogers said she then had an epiphany that they should perform theater in this style.
Tonight, the group will present its annual sex show, which is a performance of short stories, dances and songs by the company’s members about anything sex related. After the stories conclude, there will be a bake sale and then an open mic segment where audience members can take a turn and share their stories.
Rogers said she feels it’s important that the audience participate and share any story or emotion they feel.
“We have this … perception and people ask ‘How are you?’ and you say fine. No one’s fine … and they should feel free to express that,” she said.
That expression has not always been easy for all of F-Word’s members, said Hannah Dunn, a junior studying history and special education.
“I had to learn to really trust the people in the group in order to be completely vulnerable with my stories and life,” Dunn said.
Jessica Kyle Link, a senior studying theater performance and another founding member of the group, said that it usually isn’t hard to get the audience to participate.
“It isn't hard to get our audience talking themselves about the topic because they've been watching monologues, scenes, dances, stand up, poetry and music about it to get them warmed up to share,” Link said.
Although the shows are free, the group gives donations and bake sale revenue to different charities based on the theme of their shows.
The company will travel to local high schools this spring and teach the students how to put their thoughts into theatrical stories.
“I don’t want anyone to have to wait until college to get the opportunity to pursue what they want to do, “ Rogers said.