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THE GRAY

ensemble theatre · the ladyparts collective · Ages 14+ · world premiere · United States of America

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Review by BONNIE SLUDIKOFF

June 19, 2018 certified reviewer

What I liked

Partnering with organizations, young people empowered enough to talk about sexual violence.

What I didn't like

The slide at the very end that said “please stand if you have ever experienced sexual violence- or if you know anyone who has” made my stomach turn- I felt it was inappropriate and a bad call. At the performance attended- no one stood- perhaps at other performances people did? I thought about standing- I speak out constantly as a survivor so it wasn’t that it was too big of a deal, but I feared for a moment that there might be applause for those standing or some other awkward reaction- it’s just not (in my opinion) a good choice for a lot of reasons. The biggest thing I have learned in years of being involved in this topic is that there are ways of inviting others into the conversation and ways to avoid. The invitation a minute later to raise your hand for the same question resulted in 100 percent audience participation- it was appropriate and well done, but that slide really hurt my show experience and I just encourage you guys to think about how it makes people feel. It reminded me of this experience I had at a big comedy club in LA a few years ago where a comedian made a rape joke and called me out (in the front row) for not laughing and yelled at me and called me names for his entire set- in the aftermath a friend said what I should have done was stand up and say “if you’ve ever been raped and abused, stand with me”. I got a little annoyed because my friend got mad that I didn’t like the suggestion- I wanted to explain how I knew in advance that no one would stand if asked that way… the way we invite others to join us is SO important and fragile…

My overall impression

As important as the show is the fact that most of the cast and production team are young people. This isn’t going to be the best acting Oscar-winning performance of fringe, but instead it’s a worthy production, deserving of praise for its willingness to dive into an important topic.

I was proud to watch all the young people involved- and especially to see the cast include so many guys.

The show is quick and efficient- it’s educational but not in your face.

I love the talk-back aspect and I think the organization I saw was effective in some ways- but the talk-back was more of a talk-at—- I think it would be great to encourage the audience to get involved more.

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