THE NAKED I: RECOGNIZE/D – Featured Artist, Wren Hess

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1. In what way/s are you involved with THE NAKED I: RECOGNIZE/D? I’m one of the actors in “Voices” – a piece about asexuality.

2. Why is it important to tell the stories in THE NAKED I? While it’s good that there is more and more queer and trans representation in the media, I think we often get told the same gay stories and the same trans stories. This can alienate people who haven’t had that experience, not to mention those identities that don’t get much representation at all. Especially when you’re questioning an aspect of yourself, it’s amazingly helpful to see other people like you talking about the same things you’ve thought, but that you maybe never said out loud.

3. What aspects of your identity do you hope to express through your involvement with THE NAKED I? “Voices” is about asexuality, and I don’t identify as ace, but as a nonbinary trans person, I can relate to the doubt and confusion in the piece, and the relief of finally finding community.

4. Talk about your background as an artist. What sort of artistic experience are you bringing to this production? I did a lot of acting in high school, but I’ve only done one show besides this during the three years I’ve been in college. That show was called Acute Care: Performing Emotional Labors, and it was a piece put together from interviews with nurses by Beth Cleary at Macalester College, where I go to school. Acute Care told stories of people who often feel unheard, like The Naked I. Some of the nurses who came to see the show told us how meaningful it was to see us talk about their lives and work. I believe The Naked I will give people that same feeling of recognition.

5. What other artists or shows have inspired you? Would it be cheesy to say I’m inspired by all the other artists working on The Naked I? I was already wowed hearing all the pieces at our first full run-through rehearsal, and I’m really excited to watch them evolve as we get closer to performances!

6. When not involved in this production, how do you spend your time? What are some of your hobbies? I do pretty much all kinds of art that I can get my hands on. I’m majoring in art and also study geography and urban studies, so I’m always in at least one studio art class, but I also try to keep drawing and painting and doing other little projects all the time. Other things I do with my time include reading books about cities, baking, watching horror movies with my housemate, and teaching myself to play guitar.

THE NAKED I: RECOGNIZED performs February 2-11 at Minnsky Theatre. Click here for more information and to reserve tickets now!

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