“Good Kids” Is Hard to Watch but Explores Important Issues Surrounding Rape

By Casey Koldewyn

What events lead to a rape? What counts as rape? Who gets raped?

And why should we care?

To learn a few answers to these questions, don’t miss out on Studio 115’s performance of “Good Kids.” “Good Kids,” written by Naomi Lizuka and directed by Julie Rada, delves into the heart of the issue of college and high school rape. Instead of portraying either party in a rape — victim or rapist — as bad kids who were asking for it (in the case of the victim) or good kids who just made a mistake (as in the case of the victim), Lizuka’s play questions what it means for a kid to be good in the first place. What determines a person’s goodness? Who has the right to present someone with that ‘good’ label?

The entire play unfolds with a heavy basis in technology. The narrator, a woman in a wheelchair whose part in the events of the play is not apparent until the production’s unsatisfying and terribly discouraging end, constantly “pauses” and “rewinds” the story to tell the story in its entirety while also providing the illusion of a YouTube video that one must constantly replay to fully understand what is going on. The narrator, Karma, as she later calls herself, uses her ability to rewind and pause to explain that behind each and every “good” kid is something much darker, something that a lot of alcohol at an underage party will easily push into the spotlight.

Technology plays a huge part in the plot of the play as well as in its presentation, as the sexual assault of a character named Chloe is live-Tweeted by one of the boys who assaults her. This aspect of the play corresponds to recent real-world events — the Steubenville High School rape case in August 2012, where the rape of a female high school student was published to social media by her rapists. As in Steubenville, in this play the use of technology changes everything. No one can hide what happened because it is everywhere, on everyone’s phone, on the Internet.

As you might assume, this play is harsh. All of the characters are so angry, making it difficult to like any of them for any amount of time. Attend the play to have your mind expanded, but realize you may leave a bit of yourself, maybe that part of you that hoped for goodness, at the door.

Studio 115 is located just west of the Campus Store. Tickets for U students are free with your U ID.

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