‘Good Kids’ performance addresses sexual assault

The GVSU Opera Theater rehearses their 2015 play, Company, inside the Performing Arts Center on Saturday, February 21, 2015.


GVL/Archive The GVSU Opera Theater rehearses their 2015 play, Company, inside the Performing Arts Center on Saturday, February 21, 2015.

Carmen Smith

Based on true events of rape, sexual assault and the fallout of the community involved, “Good Kids” is a play telling the story of Chloe, a girl from Steubenville, Ohio, who is drugged, sexually assaulted and forced to relive the incident through photos and videos posted online by her assaulters.

The first performance of “Good Kids” will be held at Grand Valley State University Friday, Nov. 11 at 7:30 p.m. in the Louis Armstrong Theatre in the Performing Arts Center. Showings of the play will continue each Friday at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Performances will conclude Sunday, Nov. 20.

“Good Kids” was written by Naomi Iizuka for the Big Ten Theater Consortium to raise awareness of rape and sexual assault. The main character, Chloe, portrayed by GVSU student Lindsey Normington, arrives to a party at another high school and finds herself in a dangerous situation. She is sexually assaulted by a group of boys who post videos and pictures of the assault on social media for all to see.

Dennis Henry, visiting director and GVSU professor, said he hopes to raise awareness and educate people on what has to be done to minimize the number of sexual assaults. After each performance, there will be a discussion that allows audience members to ask questions about the show, the characters or sexual assault and rape culture in general.

“In our society today, we are facing issues with rape culture and sexual assaults every day,” said Seth Burton, GVSU student playing the role of Tyler in “Good Kids.” “If you’re not certain that you understand completely anything about rape culture or sexual assault or how to handle this or where to go, this is a good chance to get that information. I hope this show opens people’s eyes and sparks discussion.”

“Good Kids” focuses on the perspectives of sexual assault and rape from each person involved and the impact on the community. Normington said she thinks it’s important to see the perspective of the victim because it doesn’t matter what they’re wearing, what they look like or how they act–no one deserves to be assaulted.

With sexual assault being a prevalent and common issue, not only around the world but also here at GVSU, the show taps into what truly happens within these cases.

“This is my first semester at Grand Valley and one of the first headlines I saw was about on-campus sexual assault,” Henry said. “It’s a prevalent and pertinent issue with college kids, and it’s on everybody’s minds. What better time to do a show like this than now?”

The production has strong language, sensitive discussions about rape and sexual assault and uncomfortable scenes regarding rape, sexual assault, objectification and victim blaming. However, there is a bit of humor and light moments weaved in among the dark concepts during parts of the performance.

“If you have a predisposition on this subject, you should still come with an open mind to see other’s perspectives,” Normington said.“This could effect anyone’s life at any moment. You have to get over the hump of not wanting to think about it or talk about it because you’re going to need to know the next step if it does happen, and I think our show is the perfect thing for that.”

This fast-paced production runs for 85 minutes with no intermission providing entertainment while provoking emotion and teaching the audience valuable life lessons.

“You should expect to leave with questions, but you won’t leave sad,” Burton said. “There is fun in the show, but the overall idea is to bring light to an issue that is plaguing our society today.”