Play to raise awareness of sexual assault

By Emilie Plesset, Daily Staff Reporter
Published September 21, 2014

In light of an increased nationwide focus on preventing sexual assault on college campuses, the University’s School of Music, Theatre & Dance will premiere Naomi Iizuka’s new play, “Good Kids.” The production will be in conjunction with the University's broader Expect Respect: Flip the Script sexual assault prevention campaign — which itself is a part of the Big Ten Theatre Consortium’s New Play Initiative.

The performance will play during the first two weekends of October at the North Campus Arthur Miller Theatre.

The Big Ten Theatre Consortium will put on the play at all Big Ten schools in an effort to address the issue of most plays being predominantly male centric. According to Assistant Theatre Prof. Gillian Eaton, the show’s director, the Music, Theatre & Dance School in its history have only performed nine plays written by women.

“There just aren’t that many plays by women, for women, with big parts for women and about women’s issues,” Eaton said. “That’s why this consortium was put together.”

The Expect Respect: Flip the Script initiative will address sexual assault prevention on campus. In addition to the play, the initiative will include a widespread social media campaign to get the message out. All students and faculty involved in the play will receive sexual assault bystander intervention and sexual assault prevention training through the University’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center.

The play, “Good Kids,” addresses the themes of rape and hookup culture among young adults. The play is based on the 2012 Steubenville High School rape case, where the sexual assault of a teenage girl by two members of the high school football team was heavily publicized through pictures and videos posted on social media.

After each performance, speakers will answer questions from the audience and address various aspects of the topic. Dr. Christopher Kilmartin, a stand-up comedian and internationally-recognized expert on violence prevention and gender, will be one of the speakers.

“We want to set the bar high,” Eaton said. “That’s why we came up with this outreach initiative regarding the rape and respect culture. We wanted the play to have a larger impact and have a piece of creative work be the impetus to start a change of heart and a change of mind about the subject.”

The play is intended to launch a campus-wide conversation about community responsibilities and individual choices in regards to preventing sexual assault and harm to others.

SAPAC Director Holly Rider-Milkovich said that in light of the White House’s new campaign, It’s On Us, which asks colleges and individuals to take on the issue of ending sexual assault, the initiative is an opportune way to spread the play’s message on campus.

“Sexual violence prevention is something we need to work on constantly,” Rider-Milkovich said. “We want to support student activism and encourage and help guide student voices on this issue to the extent that students continue to really find value and meaning and vigor in this project. We will continue to support it and we will also support new ideas and new projects because certainly there is a lot of work to be done.”