The Naked I: Insides Out – Get to Know Valencia McMurray

This winter, 20% Theatre Company is thrilled to present the world premiere of The Naked I: Insides Out – the 3rd in a series of Naked I plays that explore queer and trans* experiences through monologues, short scenes, and spoken word poems. The show was created over the past year by selecting 25 of 119 stories submitted by community members. This newest installment of The Naked I will involve over 75 LGBTQ artists and allies – including contributing writers, directors, performers, designers, technicians and supporting staff.

You can see The Naked I: Insides Out February 13-23, 2014 at Intermedia Arts in Minneapolis. Purchase tickets now!

Over the next several weeks, we will be featuring interviews from a variety of The Naked I: Insides Out artists.  We recently asked Valencia McMurray what they had to say about The Naked I: Insides Out.

Valencia McMurray

What attracted you to audition for The Naked I: Insides Out?

I saw The Naked I: Wide Open at my school winter 2012, I believe. I also participated in the workshop that was held. I’ve never seen or heard of anything like The Naked I and I definitely fell in love. When I heard there was a new show happening, I had to audition and bring my Spoken Word background into the picture.

Have you ever acted before? If so, in what? When?

I’ve done minimal acting. I was in The Vagina Monologues my freshman year of college. My sister is the actor in the family; I tend to stick to my poetry and have done several small shows with that.

What is your role with the The Naked I: Insides Out? What do you like most about the piece(s) you are working on and your relationship to them as performer?

I am one of the performers in Carpenters. I will also be a body in Requiem for the Queers. I don’t know much about the latter, but I’m really excited for Carpenters. It’s written so beautifully. The metaphors, ah ha moments, and emotions it solidifies are all too real for me. If I were a violin, Carpenters would be my bow.

What about this production excites you most?

Being around so many queers, feeling safe, and doing what I love in a way that means a lot to me in an identity type of way.

What do you hope/think audiences will take away from seeing  your piece in The Naked I: Insides Out?

I hope people get what the author of the piece intended for all of us to get. I think that’s a voice to, not simply carry on by hearing, but rise up with.

More about Valencia, the person…

What is your personal pronoun preference?

I don’t have a preference, except not it/it’s/itself.

What is your first memory of gender?

My first memory is when I was 6 and trying to figure out what the difference was between kissing boys and girls.

If your gender identity was a food, what would it be?

Potatoes. There isn’t anything deep there. I just really like potatoes.

You feel the most naked when…

I feel the most naked when I’m naked or being dehumanized for any part of my identity.

What do you do in the world, outside of working on this production? (job/hobbies, etc.)

I’m a Computer Science senior at Augsburg College. I tutor my peers and participate in Students for Racial Justice. I’m also trying to start a trans* and gender non-conforming space on-campus this semester. I’m a geek! I love technology and I’m a huge gamer.

What if the concept of gender didn’t exist? How would that change your life?

The pressure would be off. God, would it be off. An entire system of oppression is upheld by gender (some might argue that there is more than one system); I can’t even begin to imagine how different my life would be.

What is your most favorite accessory or article of clothing?

Hats! Specifically skullies or longer beanies.

Name one of your favorite songs right now.

Flawless by Beyoncé or the whole album, but that’s one one song, eh?