‘Creativity and Performance’ at Transforming Gender and Society conference


K. Rambo/Iowa State Daily

Rachel Reyes reads “To The Girl Who Stole My Snack Pack Chocolate Pudding Cup on the School Bus on the First Day of Second Grade” at Transforming Gender and Society

K. Rambo

In a series of performances moderated by Abby Dubisar, Rachel Reyes and Hope Sievers of Iowa State read creative writing pieces, along with Peyton Gray of Central College, who read an abridged version of a research paper title “The Influence of Shahrazad.”

The Influence of Shahrazad

Gray opened with her research piece, discussing a medieval Middle-Eastern story titled “1,000 Nights,” in which a king’s wife has an intimate relationship with one of his slaves. The king is enraged and embarrassed by the relationship and takes action to inflict violent revenge on not only his wife, but women in general, whom he now distrusts.

The king decides he will marry and have sex with a virgin each night, killing her in the morning. Shahrazad, a scholar and daughter of a merchant, decides to marry the king at the behest of her father and use a compelling story that doesn’t end in order to survive to see another night and challenge his perception of women.

Gray’s thesis centers on Shahrazad’s influence in the story, as well as modern Middle-Eastern society. Gray challenged what she feels some scholars seem to ignore, Shahrazad’s importance to the story, even providing examples from scholars who essentially claimed the characters are irrelevant to the plot and substance of the story.

To The Girl Who Stole My Snack Pack Chocolate Pudding Cup on the School Bus on the First Day of Second Grade

Reyes shared a short story written for a creative writing class at Iowa State that told the story of a second grade girl who had her pudding cup stolen by a bully on the bus on the first day of school. Reyes wanted the girl to know, she wanted that pudding.

Reyes spoke of the character having her mother in tow at the bus stop on the first day of second grade and the jeers from the bully who would take her pudding cup. She utilized a thorough description of the experience of eating a cup of pudding to detail her disappointment at not having that experience.

Reyes’ character contemplated what she could have done to prevent the theft of her pudding, which she revealed was a conscious choice to draw a parallel between survivors and the effect society can have on their thought processes.

Reyes’ story took a devastating turn as she was called to the principal’s office following lunch. Her principal and father, who was crying, sat in the office waiting for her.

It was the last pudding cup her mother would pack for her.

The Monologue of a Supervillian

Sievers performed a monologue written for a creative writing class from the perspective of a woman who received extreme plastic surgery to look like Barbie. The character is named Barbie.

After the procedure, Barbie discovers the results she desired have not been achieved and she discovers in the contract she has no legal recourse.

Barbie decides to get revenge on the doctors, although the business suddenly closed and the doctors leave. Barbie enlists a man she describes as “stupid,” who renamed himself Ken at her request and does her bidding.

So Barbie chooses to capture random people and dress them as doctors to exact her revenge.

A group of multicultural superheroes find themselves in the clutches of Barbie until another superhero frees them to bring her plot for revenge to an end.