Grace Metzger Performs “Anxious Body, Anxious Voice”


Courtesy of Grace Metzger

Senior Grace Metzger performed “Anxious Body, Anxious Voice” on Mar. 23 and 24.

Julia Stanisci, Staff Writer

On Mar. 23 and 24 at 6 p.m., audience members gathered in the Communication Department Studio for “Anxious Body, Anxious Voice,” a one woman show by graduating senior Grace Metzger, co-directed by Evan Schares.

Throughout the show, Metzger mixed and matched narrative poetry, original music and personal monologue to tell the story of the relationship between “the anxious body that pulls her down and the anxious voice that pushes her forward.”

The performance took place “in-the-round,” with chairs organized in a circle around the stage and the audience completely surrounding the performer. Metzger and Schares made the decision to utilize the round in order to encapsulate the feeling of entrapment that anxiety creates. As Metzger performed, she was “trapped” by the audience with no escape, a feeling that anxiety often creates, trapping those who live with it inside their heads. The round also made for a more intimate, immersive experience for the audience, which was steps away from Metzger at any point in the performance. 

The show opened with an original song Metzger sang and played on guitar, its lyrics detailing the need for control that anxiety and OCD sufferers experience. Throughout the show, she switched between personally narrating her journey with anxiety, to verbalizing it through poetry, to ending it with more original music. The switch between these different mediums demonstrated different outlets for anxiety and creativity while also embodying the experience of living with anxiety. 

Metzger also made intuitive choices when it came to props on stage. Through incessantly trying to stack cards on a table, she showed the audience what it is like to have your hands be controlled by the OCD in your head. 

Through the lighting of matches and letting them burn, she portrayed how anxiety often comes in sparks of heat, with the sufferer never knowing when the flames will fade. She also carefully placed a deck of cards in a circle around her to symbolize the hotspot of anxiety at the center of the stage, later stepping in and out of the ring when the anxiety trapped her. 

Overall, in combining her own experience with the experiences of others she has spoken to and interviewed, Metzger puts anxiety on display in an intimate and artistic way.  

Metzger explained what made her decide to put on this performance and tell this story in such a unique way. 

“Anxiety has been so prevalent throughout my time at Villanova, and yet I feel like the conversations we have about mental health are too one-note,” Metzger said. “I wanted to share my experience just to encourage others to do the same, and we can all realize that the anxious experience doesn’t always look the same.” 

The performance Metzger put on required a great deal of vulnerability as she dived deep into her largest struggles.

“The biggest challenge I faced was getting up the nerve to actually write, rehearse and perform the show,” she said. “As much as I cared about the idea, executing it was really difficult because it triggered me pretty much every day. I had to push through that each time I walked into the space.” 

Despite this challenge, Metzger perservered and channeled her struggles into something beautifully moving for both the audience and herself. 

“While I was proud of myself for the show, my favorite part was the pride I felt at having so many people come to support me in the audience,” Metzger said. “The encouragement and hugs were priceless. And more than that, seeing so many of my friends relate to what I was saying made me realize I’m not alone even though sometimes my anxiety can make me think I am.”