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'Extremities' intended to encourage campus discussion about sexual assault

February 9, 2015

The Chadron State College Theatre department will present "Extremities" in Memorial Hall’s Black Box Theatre Feb. 12-14 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 15 at 2:30 p.m. The play is for mature audiences only. For tickets call: 308-432-6207 or email boxoffice@csc.edu.

The play, by William Mastrosimone, takes the audience into the life of a woman who endures an attempted rape in her home and the drama which unfolds as the would-be rapist is imprisoned in the apartment while the woman and her roommates discuss their options.

With Title IX discussions coming to the forefront on campuses nationwide, director Scott Cavin feels that this play can serve as a catalyst to start conversations on the CSC campus about rape.

The actors in the play are: Jada Fisk of Rapid City, South Dakota, as Marjorie, the woman who is attacked; Doug Valade of Scottsbluff, Nebraska, as Raul, the attacker; Tami Rethman of Verdon, Nebraska, who portrays Marjorie's roommate, Terry, who was the victim of a completed—and unreported—rape when she was a teenager; and Jessica Stephen-Schepers of Spearfish, South Dakota, as Patricia, another roommate.

Interviews with the director and actors are available online.

Raul masterfully pits the three women against one another in his attempt to escape unscathed. Interestingly, Mastrosimone wrote in his afterword that defense attorneys use the same strategy when selecting mostly female jurors.

The inspiration for the script was a rape victim the playwright met in 1978. She stopped by his office after her assailant charmed the jury, created reasonable doubt, went free and verbally threatened her with even worse treatment as he walked by her on the courthouse steps. Months later, she was moving to the opposite coast of the U.S. in an attempt to regain some peace of mind and patch her shattered life back together.

“…I began writing that night at midnight. I worked all night. I thought it was a two-character play, but then Terry and Patricia walked in. I slept two hours at the end of Act One. By three that afternoon I had finished,” he wrote.

In the afterword, Mastrosimone explains that many rapes are not reported, few are prosecuted and even fewer result in convictions. He also dispels myths that a woman can cause rape and that rape is for sex.

This production is going to be incredibly hard to convince an audience to experience because it’s about rape and rape culture, according to director Scott Cavin.

The subject has gained exposure in the past months and Cavin said theatre can be a valuable tool to advance the campus discussion of this violent crime.

“Theatre allows us to discuss this topic in a safe environment.  The audience can leave at the end of the show and never think about rape culture again or this production becomes so powerful and moving that it refuses to be ignored. Better yet, it motivates an audience member to introduce this discussion to their friends,” Cavin said.

He admits the conversation is uncomfortable but emphasizes that it is equally necessary.

Members of the campus community are invited to participate in a Talk Back Session with the director, cast and other audience members immediately after the performances.

“I encourage students, faculty and staff to experience the production and use it as a means to ignite thoughtful discussion regarding rape and rape culture,” Cavin said.

 

—Tena L. Cook, Marketing Coordinator

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