This powerful play aims to change the way audiences think about campus rape, and it’s doing a damn good job

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<br /> This powerful play aims to change the way audiences think about campus rape, and it’s doing a damn good job


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Calvin B. Alagot

A powerful new play is telling the truth about campus rape, and hoping to affect change in a dramatic way. Bowing as part of the Hollywood Fringe Festival, a summer-long celebration of the best of independent theatre in Los Angeles, The Interference, penned by Scottish playwright Lynda Radley, tells the story of Karen, a young athlete at an unnamed Big Ten school who values her studies almost as much as her friendships.

One night, though, Karen ties one on at a campus rager and a friend puts her to bed, as Karen is nearly unable to stand. Some time later, Karen awakes to find the school’s star football quarterback sexually assaulting her.

Through the course of the play — performed masterfully by student actors from Pepperdine University’s undergraduate theatre program — Karen pursues so-called avenues to justice, including reporting her rape to her school, filing a Title IX complaint, and sharing her story publicly with the help of an overworked investigative journalist.

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But as the news spreads across campus and around the country, the campaign to discredit her escalates, forcing her to drop out of school and bringing her pursuit of justice to a standstill.


Calvin B. Alagot

Directed by Cathy Thomas Grant and shown last week at Rogue Machine Theatre in Los Angeles, The Interference brings to stunning life a story we all know too well. Drawing from real-life, high-profile cases involving unconscious women and their athlete rapists — like those of Jameis Winston, the recent gang rape of two women at Baylor University, the Steubenville High School rape case, to name only a few — for a piece of fiction, the play feels incredibly real.




 




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