‘Good Kids’ hits the UAlbany Performing Arts Center
By Tendrina Alexandre
If you didn’t see “Good Kids,” you missed out. The play, performed by the University at Albany Theatre Program from Nov. 5 through 14, was an experience every student on campus should be a part of.
Written by Naomi Iizuka, the play revolves around sexual assault on a college campus. The audience quickly learns that Chloe, a young college female, was raped. We know she was drunk, and that she can’t remember what happened. We also know that everyone’s talking about it.
Narrated by a young woman who was also a victim of sexual assault (an accident that’s left her in a wheelchair), we go through different versions of the story with different witnesses, until we discover the truth. The story is told, reversed, edited and untold until the reality comes out. In the end, we learn that Chloe was gang raped, but we also learn a little more about ourselves and about our world.
“Good Kids” is a genius reality of modern mindsets. Each character in the show is an honest version of the people in our world. From the friend who wasn’t paying attention, the jock witness who was too scared to say something, to the judgmental, overly-defensive parents whose children would “never” be involved in such a situation, we come face to face with the reality of the harsh society we live in and with ourselves.
Watching this play forces the audience to understand that these things happen. People really do believe things like, “She was asking for it,” or, “My kid is a good kid, he or she would never be friends with a girl like that.”
What is a “good kid,” the play asks. As a viewer, you can’t help but put yourself in the shoes of each character. You’re a “good kid” too, right? But would you have followed your friend to the bathroom? Would you have stopped an intoxicated woman from leaving the party with a man? Do you believe that the way a woman is treated depends on the way she dresses? Which character are you most like and what does that say about you? By the end of the show, you come to terms with a shocking revelation: Anyone can be involved in a sexual assault case.
Then there’s technology and social media. That’s how word of Chloe’s rape got out. Pictures and videos of her were tweeted, retweeted, and posted. Once the athletes realized they could get into trouble for what they “hadn’t” done, they thought deleting everything would make it okay.
Another lesson and hit of reality: technology has taken over our generation. The audience wasn’t sure what to be more disgusted with: the rapists tweeting the pictures, or the students retweeting those posts before reporting it to any officials.
The show was followed by “talk back,” a discussion. Viewers and the actors were encouraged to talk about their reactions to the play in a conversation led by the director of the play, Kim Stauffer, and Carol Stenger, director of UAlbany’s Advocacy Center for Sexual Violence. The audience all came to the conclusion that morality was one of the main themes of the show. What we think and believe is right or wrong is all based on the ideals of society. We talked about the importance of consent and the #JustAsk campaign. It was clear everyone was moved by the time in the theater.
Overall the show was phenomenal and moving. The actors and actresses were fantastic, and all understood the importance of the topic of their show. Sexual assault is controversial, but it’s something that needs to be discussed, and “Good Kids” was a phenomenal way to raise the awareness.