A provocative look at a difficult situation awaits mature audiences when the 2017-18 University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Department of Theatre and Dance season opens this month with the drama "Student Body."
In "Student Body," a group of college students finds themselves facing a moral dilemma when they view a video from a party they attended. They are locked in an intense ethical argument about how to treat a sexual assault that happened in their midst. Does someone know more than they are willing to admit? Should they report it to police? Seemingly obvious answers become complex as they argue about what to do with the video. It becomes clear everyone has something to lose.
This "psychological realism" is both intense and sensitive, said Theatre Professor Stephen Trovillion Smith, the show's director. The performance contains graphic dialogue about sexual violence but does not simulate actions.
After each performance, a discussion will follow with the director and cast members. Staff from the Dean of Students office, Student Health Services and CAP Services' Sexual Assault Victim Services will facilitate optional 20-30 minute discussions.
Performances will be held at 7:30 p.m. in the Studio Theatre of the Noel Fine Arts Center on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 13-14 and Wednesday through Saturday, Oct. 18-21. A matinee will be offered at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 15.
The edgy subject matter may be appropriate for high school age students and older, Smith said. He hopes it begins conversations between parents and teens about behavior, risks and sexual assault. "Nobody knows how to talk about this subject," Smith said.
"No one who see this play will not be changed by it. It will enlighten people to the point where it can save lives," he said.
Sexual assault is a serious subject on campuses across the country. Students at UW-Stevens Point participate in training to understand what constitutes sexual assault, consent and respect, and to learn of resources available to prevent and response to interpersonal violence.
The cast – seven women and three men – explores sobering issues involving alcohol, assault, choices and consequences. Each actor has a moment of revelation during the 60-minute production.
This contemporary play was written by Frank Winters and first produced in December 2014 in New York.
Tickets are $23 for adults, $13 for age 17 and under. Tickets are available at the UW-Stevens Point Information and Tickets Office, located in the Dreyfus University Center concourse, by calling 715-346-4100 or at http://tickets.uwsp.edu. The First Nighters package Friday, Oct. 13, includes dinner and discussion with the director before the performance.