Arts & Culture / Mosaic / Theater / April 15, 2009

Studio Theater one-act on the perception of sexual assault to open this weekend

This weekend, a one act directed by junior Sam Newport will ask the audience to examine the societal perceptions of those who are sexually assaulted. Running only about 20 to 25 minutes, Newport said her goal with this short play is to “address the different attitudes that people have toward women who are in situations like this.”

While there is no specific plot to the play, it consists of a woman who was sexually assaulted in a park being questioned about the incident.

“The questioning just kind of turns foul,” Newport said, “and the person questioning her starts to make it sound like it’s her fault, that she started the attack.”

The script of the play begins with normal questioning, but then delves into questions about the woman’s appearance, why she wears her hair the way she does, why she paints her nails, and why she makes the clothing choices she makes. At one point the questioner asks, “You were wearing a black lacy bra and panties?” to which the woman replies, “That’s right.”

The questioner says, “Why not white or beige? Did you expect anyone to see your underwear that day?”

“I just felt like there were so many things about it that could connect to people on this campus,” she said, “especially with the Grievance Panel issues lately. It’ll provide an opportunity for conversation about sexual assault and dealing with the situation after the fact.”

Newport said she realized there are “misconceptions with women who have been sexually assaulted depending on the kind of woman they are. If you’re a librarian, then people say, ‘Oh, poor thing,’ but if you’re [known as] the tramp next door, then it’s like, ‘She had it coming.’”

Newport said she is going to change the play slightly from Friday night to Saturday night, that on Friday the questioner will be a male, and then on Saturday the questioner will be a female. She said it might help people to “see it through a different lens.”

The play, originally written by Arlene Hutton, will be performed by junior Chanel Miller, sophomore Andrew Polk, and senior Abby Harms. It will run in Studio Theater at 7:30 p.m. this Friday and Saturday.

Annie Zak

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