By Naomi Iizuka
Directed by Sabrina Spalding
Review by Kate Barry
Entire contents are copyright © 2017 Kate Barry. All rights reserved.
Nothing is sacred anymore – sad but true. We live in a world full of tweets, check-ins, and posts spanning from baby pictures to funeral homes. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have become a dealer’s choice of information oversharing and privacy has become a thing of the past. Naomi Iizuka explores this mentality and the effect on today’s teens in Good Kids. Commonwealth Theater Center has staged a fascinating drama that picks a part one young woman’s experience at a party and how her peers view the dire consequences, shame, and regrets.
The twelve-actor ensemble gelled beautifully. As a troupe, these actors showed confidence and conversational ease. Bits about what it means to be cool and lame, smart and dumb were playfully timed and tossed about effortlessly. The strongest moments within this gossipy chorus were the descriptions of differences between boys and girls. Although humorous, with conversations about video games and porn, the cast does well to shift the mood with slut shaming and desires to “tap that,” and “hit it.”
The topic of rape is ever present throughout the piece and the cast as a whole exquisitely handles it with great maturity. The multi-media images of pictures and hashtags bring a nice accent mark to the piece as well. But the most haunting and striking imagery involved the female cast members watching a young female peer fall victim to sexual assault on their phones in the dark; the glow of communication devices and the sounds of the assault will send chills down your spine for sure.
Bailey Lomax delivers a strong performance as Chloe, the sexual assault victim and focus of the piece. Constantly ridiculed and judged, Lomax’s victim is tarnished and exposed without feeling sorry for herself. She is looking for answers in a situation where choices were beyond her control and her performance deserves much applause. Noah Bunch as football hero Connor and Will DeVary’s nice guy, Landon, provide strong support as Chloe’s alleged abusers. Bunch’s smiles and charms are balanced by defenses and denial, while DeVary brings naiveté and innocence to Landon’s too little-too late realizations. Zoe Peterson and Shannon Bradley bring strong, feminist voices to the production as wise-beyond-their-years outcasts who are looking in by way of social media.
With such a direct and honest production, I must admit that there were moments where I found myself cringing in my seat. Perhaps it was the choice of soundtrack selections, including “Blurred Lines,” or the painfully true concept that “you don’t date anymore, you just hook up.” One thing is for sure; this play holds a mirror up to rape culture and challenges us to ask ourselves how we can change it.
Featuring: Makayla Roth, Lilly Rich, Lindsay Lisanti, Cicely Warren, Brooklyn Durs, Zoe Peterson, Bailey Lomax, Shannon Bradley, Chase Bishop, Alec Elmore, Will DeVary, Noah Bunch
March 2-11 2017
Tickets are $15 adult and $10 student/
Nancy Niles Sexton Stage
Commonwealth Theater Center
1123 Payne Street
Louisville, KY 40204
Kate Barry earned her Bachelors in English with a Theater minor from Bellarmine University in 2008. She has worked with many different companies around town including Kentucky Shakespeare Festival, Bunbury Theater, Louisville Repertory Company, Walden Theater, Finnigan Productions and you have probably purchased tickets from her at that little performing arts center on Main Street as well. In 2012, her short play “PlayList” won festival favorite in the Finnigan Festival of Funky Fresh Fun. She has written for LEO Weekly and TheatreLouisville.com as well. Thanks for reading!