Essential Theater takes on rape

The FAMU Essential Theatre’s production of “Extremities” will give crowds an altered perspective on rape starting Oct. 13.

The play, by William Mastrosimone, deals with an attempted rape where the tables are turned, and the attempted rapist becomes the victim.

The main character of “Extremities” is Marjorie, a woman who goes from being victimized to controlling her own fate. Played by Ebony Yarbrough, Marjorie is the victim who must decide how to defend herself against the potential rapist.

Marjorie has the dilemma of calling the police and leaving her situation in the hands of the justice system or taking matters into her own hands.

Yarbrough, a 21-year-old Spanish student from Woodbridge, Va., said the production will have a deep impact on viewers.

“The show brings up issues people normally choose to ignore, and causes you to really face what a rape victim goes through,” Yarbrough said.

The attempted rapist Raul, is portrayed by Arion Friday, a junior theater student from Trinidad. He said the reversal of roles, going from rapist to victim, is ironic.

“I find it strange to play a rapist, but when turned into the victim, my character is charismatic and pretty funny,” Friday said. “It’s really complex to play both parts.”

The show’s cast members said most people will be able to relate in some way to “Extremities”.

“I think that everyone may not relate to the story, but many people have experienced rape or know someone who has,” said Julia Lundey, the show’s stage manager. Lundey is a senior theater performance student from New Orleans.

Other students said the play sounds interesting.

“I think the role reversal in the play will be good to show as long as she doesn’t kill him,” said Quanitra Thurston, a sophomore criminal justice student from Key West.

“Extremities” may help bring more attention to rape, which is an ongoing issue in Florida. The Florida Council Against Sexual Violence Web site reported 6,724 forcible rapes to state law enforcement officials in 2003.

The play is based on an actual case where a man who was charged with an alleged sexual abuse was acquitted. According to an Essential Theatre press release, “Extremities” first hit the scene in 1982 and became an off-Broadway hit. The play was also shaped into a movie in 1986, almost two decades ago, and brought attention to violence against women in the United States.

The Essential Theatre will host an audience ” Talk Back” that will be free and open to the public Saturday directly after the 2 p.m. performance.

“The Essential Theatre uses the “Talk Back” series to give a voice to our audience members, especially when we are dealing with plays that address serious issues, and certainly we feel that the sexual assault of women is a topic that demands discussion,” said Valencia Matthews, the director of the play.

“This show offers the actors a chance to do some really good work,” Matthews said. “This is a show that not only affects college students, but the community as well.”

Tickets to the play will be available at the Charles Winterwood Theatre box office located on the first floor of Tucker Hall. Admission is free for students with Rattler Cards.

<i.Assistant Lifestyles Editor Royce Wynn contributed to this story.

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