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SLUT: The Play – Dixon Place, New York

Writer: Katie Cappiello

Director: Katie Cappiello, Meg McInerney

Reviewer: Jamie Rosler

Rape culture is a phrase that has become well-known, and widely accepted, only in recent years. Acknowledging the existence of that culture and the societal norms that feed it, is the first step in eradicating it entirely. SLUT: The Play explores rape culture from the point of view of high-school-aged women, all of whom experience the world through their own eyes, and in response to their own experiences.

Currently running at Dixon Place, this production is the epitome of what socially-focused theatre can and should be. It tackles a heavy topic with forthright honesty, multiple perspectives, and courage. Sharply directed by Katie Cappiello and Meg McInerney, with simple staging that bolsters the strength of the production, SLUT drives home its message without being pedantic, or necessarily spelling the message out for you. As illustrated during a post-show talk-back, the events in the play are filtered through the psyches of each particular audience member. They are also pointedly relevant in a society where some people are more concerned with 16-year-old girls saying fuck than with the scourge that is victim blaming in the wake of rape accusations.

Joanna, or Joey, is one of a group of high school juniors who refer to themselves as The Slut Squad. It’s a name they’ve inherited from previous groups of students on their school’s dance team, and it wants to be a reclaiming of female sexuality. But when Joey is assaulted in the back of a cab on the way to a party, her membership in that group is used against her. If she calls herself a slut, and had been drinking, dressing provocatively, and making a condom purchase, then she must have been asking for it. Her bravery in coming forward and reporting the incident to the police is immediately used against her as she is tried in the court of public opinion, by everyone from alleged friends to complete strangers. Throw social media into the mix, and young women today are dealing with a court of public opinion that’s arguably more wide-reaching and detrimental than anything that came before.

The entire cast of this production deserves kudos for their part in creating and performing this show. A talented and articulate ensemble of teenagers handle the heaviest of themes with the confidence and aplomb of those far more experienced in life and in theatre.

This isn’t an easy show to watch, but it shouldn’t be. It is trigger warnings, teenage sexuality, and a mirror held up to the current and disturbing state of our patriarchy. Whether you’re a feminist or misogynist, old or young, male, female or gender fluid, see this play. If you are a daughter, have a daughter, or know a daughter, see this play. If you have ever wondered what a survivor of sexual assault was wearing or drinking, see this play. You, and the world you occupy, will be better for taking part in the discussion. Before it leaves New York City, go see SLUT: The Play.

Runs until 27 February 2016

Writer: Katie Cappiello Director: Katie Cappiello, Meg McInerney Reviewer: Jamie Rosler Rape culture is a phrase that has become well-known, and widely accepted, only in recent years. Acknowledging the existence of that culture and the societal norms that feed it, is the first step in eradicating it entirely. SLUT: The Play explores rape culture from the point of view of high-school-aged women, all of whom experience the world through their own eyes, and in response to their own experiences. Currently running at Dixon Place, this production is the epitome of what socially-focused theatre can and should be. It tackles a…

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