Theater department to perform “Good Kids,” play about sexual assault

By Rylee Warner | October 4, 2016 2:24pm

Emma Pace and Rebecca Russell play Brianna and Amber in UP's production of "Good Kids" opening this week. 

Media Credit: Hannah Baade / The Beacon

“You don’t think this could happen to you?”

That is only one of the chilling lines that audiences will hear on Wednesday when the theater department opens their production of “Good Kids” by Naomi Iizuka.

Based on the Steubenville rape case,“Good Kids” tells the story of Chloe, a high school girl who is led away from a party by a group of football players and sexually assaulted while unconscious.

Like the Steubenville rape case, the boys who raped her in the play live-tweet the assault, including pictures and videos of Chloe naked and clearly unconscious. While this production does not physically portray the sexual assault, the actors do participate in blunt discussions onstage about what happened to Chloe that night.

The play doesn’t just deal with the problem of sexual assault; it also grapples with the repercussions and common reactions that follow the rape. Characters in the play, including Chloe’s classmates, the boys who raped her and parents from both sides, participate in victim blaming, “slut shaming” and denial that a rape occurred despite unmistakable evidence.

“It’s really hard to imagine how she would feel,” junior Maddie Tran, who plays Chloe, said. “I spoke to survivors I know and learned more about what happened to the real Chloe to get an idea.”

Assistant professor and director Mead Hunter was aware of the difficulties these actors would face when he decided to bring “Good Kids” to the Bluff.

“I wanted to do something that I thought would be close to the concern of the students here. That was the impetus here,” Hunter said.

The show highlights the idea, even for the actors within it, that “this can happen anywhere, to anyone.”

Sophomore Joe Flory, who plays one of the boys who raped Chloe, echoes some of the difficulties in playing this role.

“I think of something that would make me that angry and frustrated, something like what my character does, and use that onstage,” Flory said.

Sophomore Kalā Muller, who plays another one of the other boys who raped Chloe, Connor, said he had to find a way to empathize with his character to prepare for his role.

“When I got the script, I just went through every page and thought, ‘How is Connor feeling here?’ I would write that down and use that to be able to portray him honestly,” Muller said.

On Thursday, Oct. 6, Green Dot Coordinator Tiger Simpson will be moderating a panel with the cast members after the performance.

On Saturday, Oct. 8, the Garaventa Event, an event held for every theater production, will be taking place at 6:15 p.m. Both Hunter and Simpson will be discussing the show with audience members before the beginning of the performance at this event.

“Good Kids” will be showing Oct. 5 through Oct 8 at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, October 9th at 2:00 p.m. in the Mago Hunt Theatre.