For her Division III, Elizabeth Fay-Babb combined her academic interests in theatre and sculpture to create and embody five different characters in a series of monologues about aging. “I wanted people to leave my show thinking differently about the older people in their lives,” she says.
Fay-Babb was introduced to writing and performing monologues in a class with theatre professor Djola Branner.
“I was really taken by this kind of performance,” she says. “Having the whole stage to yourself to do whatever you want with it, to speak with the audience intimately through a different body, a character that you have created, and using that character to provoke thought.”
In her show, Fay-Babb transitioned from one character to the next onstage, allowing the audience to watch her as she transformed herself into someone else. Often, she says, that transformation is just as important to the drama as the monologue itself.
Fay-Babb sculpted paper-mâché masks for each character. At first, she says that this was just a way to incorporate sculpture into her work. However, she “eventually realized that wearing these big, awkward, hot masks in which I couldn’t really see or hear in was really informing my characters in interesting ways.”
“I feel like this developed my skills as a performer and writer,” she says, adding that, “going through the whole process was a struggle that needed to happen in order for me to grow in those areas.”
Fay-Babb finds a useful balance in this dichotomy of media.
“I have grown to love both of these different processes of creating character. One is made up of words and emotion and performance, and the other is visual and focuses more on the representational aspects of character.“