Written by Lynda Radley
Directed by Cathy Thomas-Grant
The subject of rape is not usually considered a clear choice for a form of entertainment, which let's face it, plays are. But using a public platform to show fictional representations of real, common and difficult circumstance has long been an extremely effective way to give voice to the voiceless and draw the attention of as many people as possible to vitally important subjects. When you consider that something like one in three women in the US has been sexually abused, rape is a subject that deeply affects every one of us.
This particular piece of fiction was so effective both in form and execution that the audience in this packed theatre were literally collectively holding their breath throughout. A large cast, dressed variously as students, athletes in letterman jackets and sports newscasters, who acted a bit like a Greek chorus, the play concerns itself with a female athletic student who, during a fraternity party, is drugged and raped by a male teammate.
What happens next is a pretty perfect example of how the system is set up to fail the victim. The university does not expel the boy or take any action at all, too concerned with their bottom line. The police are more concerned with protecting the rights of the perpetrator than the victim and the students are either ambivalent, suspicious of the girl’s motives since the boy was the star of the football team, or too scared to take her side. Since most university campuses are a microcosm of our culture it’s a horrific indictment of how we treat the most vulnerable among us.
The play is nontraditional in style, every actor on stage, most playing multiple characters firing off their lines in quick succession, overlapping at times, mimicking our world of mass information inundation to perfection. Our daily lives of texts and emails and websites and memes, all colliding and tumbling around in our heads with no clear path to the truth at times. It’s a brilliant and inventive way to tell a story and the waves of chatter and vitriol that wash across the stage, crashing against the lonely girl whose strength is pushed to the limits time and time again is shockingly effective.
The girl's only recourse ends up being a reporter, who tells her story and tries to corroborate it while she herself falls into the spiral of hate and violence that surrounds them.
"The Interference" is a play set in what should be a cradle of culture and respect and safety, a university campus, but which quite quickly becomes a pit of snakes, all struggling to survive…that Greek chorus again.
I can’t recommend this play strongly enough.
Yes it’s a subject that is in the news and on our minds, but the highly creative and culturally savvy way this terrible tale is told is incredible. And what I took away from it, despite the hugely biased way the world treats victims, or should I say “survivors,” is that this young woman, suffering the humiliation of something far beyond her control over and over again finds her strength and her power through her anger, her intelligence and her self-respect. I left wondering why we don’t talk about what these women need and how we can help them not just survive but rise above and succeed far beyond the crime that threatens to overshadow everything else in their life.
The actors were quite wonderful, they played their parts to perfection. I hated some of them by the end of the play…so sorry! The characters were a very thorough cross sections of ‘us’, from sympathetic to psychotic, from earnest to dumbass, we were all brilliantly represented.
Add this play to your Hollywood Fringe roster, and if you miss it here track it down at one of its future performances. I guarantee it is worth your time, money and support.
Winner of the Scotsman Fringe First Award for excellence and innovation in new writing.
Playwright: Lynda Radley
Directed by: Cathy Thomas-Grant
Produced by: John Perrin Flynn, Heather Tyler, and Hollace Starr
Presented by Rogue Machine in association with Pepperdine University
Christopher Bozzini, Will Craig, Addyson E.L. Culpepper, Dakota Dickerson, Mallory Erwin, Jacquelyn Ferguson, Alexandria Garrett, Parker Johnson, Buddy Kennedy, Brittany King, Caroline Pitts, and Brandon Ruiz
Tickets are $12
June 6 & 7 at 8:00pm
June 8 at 6 pm
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