‘Good Kids’ Leaves Audience Emotional as it Crosses Campus

Photo Credit/ ESU Rape culture and the harm of victim blaming are two heavy topics the play "Good Kids' tries to portray throughout the play.

Lynne McGee

Contributing Writer

“Good Kids” by Naomi Iizuka was presented by ESU’s theater department, running from Nov. 20-24 at the Smith-McFarland Theatre.

The show takes its audience on through a wild high school party gone wrong. It follows a group of high school kids from a small town replaying a horrific night.

It all started when the main character, Chole, played by Gabriella Williams, gets a little too intoxicated and ends up going home with a few of the football players.

Within this night, she hardly remembers what had happened, but many people do. Chole had been raped and it had been posted all over social media.

Though the school tries to protect its star athletes, Chole wants to know the truth.

All the videos from that night had seemingly disappeared as blame was placed on Chole’s part.

The mean girls from school, Amber (Abigail Witt) also blame Amber for being “too drunk.” Though, it seems no one wants to blame the men who had committed the act.

“I hated having to play such a mean person, but I was able to show the audience what not to do. We are all people, why should we attack each other?” Abigail Witt stated.

The show takes on rape culture and how it demeans women.

It explains how people will put the blame on the woman in saying “She asked for it!” rather than coming to the conclusion that rape is a serious problem within the world.

People were defending these men instead of helping the victim at hand. Chole still did not know the true effects of that night, but people did try to help.

“I don’t care if you’re half-dressed walking down the main street, no one has the right to put their hands on you!” Skyler, (Emily Anne McDermott) said within the play.

Emily Anne McDermott who played Skyler is one of the few high school students that know the truth of that night and wants to help. Her efforts were dismissed as the football players had excuses.

Within, “Good Kids,” it shows the audience how damaging rape truly is, and how “victim-blaming” is a reoccurring problem after these incidents.

The show takes on the stigmas such as “Boys will be boys,” within the play.

How this culture will blame the victim rather than the predator.

Jalon Mathis, who played Tanner, one of the football players, was quickly called out for standing around watching his teammates during the sexual assault rather than stopping them.

He fights an internal battle of doing the right thing or standing by his teammates. In the end, the videos are deleted, and no one has evidence that it was them.

While his teammates do not understand this internal struggle, the audience does.

The show shows different perspectives on sexual assault that night. How rape culture affects everyone involved and even the community.

Director, Susan O’Hearn was asked about the effect this show wanted to have on campus.

“It is gritty, it is a real occurrence that had happened at a school in Ohio, it could happen anywhere.” She said. “Anyone could be going through this and no one may know. This is the core front of society, and I want people to know they are not alone.”

And in the end, the audience and even Chole realizes they are not alone.

Deirdre, (Jenna Worrell) is a disabled woman narrating the entire show. She is in a wheelchair, though no one knows her story until the end.

The play concludes when Deirdre, who is good with technology is able to retrieve the deleted videos and upload them to social media.

She is able to right the wrong that has been done to Chole by proving it was the football players who had sexually assaulted her. Though, why? What was the matter to Deirdre? Why was she the one telling the story and not Chole?

In the end, these questions are answered by an emotional Deirdre.

“I was once that girl.” Worrell’s character stated.

Explaining to the audience one night she was that “drunk girl” and had gone home with the wrong people. On the way home, they had been in an accident leading to Deirdre becoming paralyzed.

She had once been in the same situation and did not want to see anyone else suffer the same fate again.

“Good Kids,” takes the audience on real-life events full of sadness, fear, and reality.

The show takes on the rape culture within society, to inform and to allow a space for people to understand this problem whether they have been through it or not.

“The show dives through so many layers and perspectives of when sexual assault happens. The show is to help people find courage and reliance to go on. Life is hope,” said Professor O’Hearn.

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