ASU's Binary Theatre Company explores the issue of identity for college students

Struggling with identity often makes us feel alone, however Binary's upcoming season puts an issue we all face center stage

No matter your year, major or age, you are likely to struggle with the question of identity. College is one of the most crucial stages of identity development.

Along with determining their goals for their academic careers, many undergraduates between the ages of 18 and 21 are in that weird phase where they are no longer minors but still cannot do most adult things. 

Often we feel that we go through our struggles alone, but having problems with identity in college is extremely common. 

Having an outlet that gives students freedom to work and create independently can be a significant help in this period of identity growth and discovery. Binary Theatre Company, an undergraduate student-run theatre organization at ASU, will focus on the issue of identity for their fall 2017 season.

"Every season has an overarching theme. For this season coming up, a lot of our shows deal with identity in some sense, whether it be personal, social or just political in general,"  said John Pinero, a senior in the theater program and company manager of Binary. 

Identity and politics often go hand in hand. 

"A lot of (plays this season) are new pieces that have been written in reaction to what's happening (in politics) as people try to work through how they feel," said Zoey Crow, a senior at ASU's School of Film, Dance and Theatre and production manager of Binary.

For many individuals, art is an outlet to seek a personal identity, often in response to a difficult political climate or personal struggle.

"When we read our proposals every season, one of the focuses in choosing plays for a season is 'how relevant is this play right now?'" Pinero said. "Either political or happening on campus, we really focus on that to see if people will connect to a piece."

Luckily, for students who want to get involved in a production at Binary, they do not have to be a theater student. All productions are student produced with no direct faculty oversight in the productions. 

"It's for students to make their own art whether or not they are a theater major," said Kat Reid, an ASU senior in the theater program and an education and community outreach representative of Binary.

Without faculty oversight, students get the hands-on experience of working on a production, which is not often an opportunity they would get in class, particularly for undergrads. 

Everyone can benefit from participating in a show at Binary this season, whether they contribute as a performer, designer or audience member.  

Questioning one's identity is a part of maturing that we can all relate to. Students can express this struggle through art or as audience members. 

In a theater organization by students, for students, Binary's productions always aim to reach out to the student demographic by telling stories that other students can identify with. 

The college campus is the perfect environment to explore this question of identity as we emerge into adulthood. 




Reach the columnist at miharri1@asu.edu or follow @IdalisHarris on Twitter.

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.

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