ALAMOSA – They are all good kids. So, how did this happen? The Adams State University Theatre production “Good Kids,” opens at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 28, on the Main Stage and continuing nightly April 29, and May 5 and 6, with a 2 p.m. matinee on May 7. Tickets go on sale April 20, at the ASU Theatre Box Office.
Written in 2015, by Naomi Ilizuka and directed by Jenna Neilsen, associate professor of theatre, “Good Kid” is based on the Steubenville, Ohio sexual assault case of 2012. Neilsen explained that the sensitive subject matter is approached in a very artistic and stylistic way. The play moves forward and backward in time and is told from the perspective of multiple characters.
The play is very much about the aftermath of the assault and examines the role of the bystander and social media. “There is no mincing of words about what happened and the dialogue is very much how high school students talk.” The performance runs 80 minutes, with no intermission. Neilsen said: “My goal is for the audience to feel like they haven’t been in their seats that long. It is a quick paced show and speaks to a generation of Snapchat, Instagram, and YouTube users.” There is a good mix of action, realism, and non-linear time.
There are a number of reasons Neilsen chose the play, including the relevance of the subject matter for every college and high school campus in America, and the opportunity to “tackle a project” with programming surrounding the production. There will be an audience talk back after each performance. “I really want the play to be a catalyst for dialogue about the subjects that are brought up in the play,” Neilsen added. “I hope the audience stays afterwards to talk with the actors about their process and with representatives from Counseling Services about the themes of the play.”
Neilsen also cites the origin of the play as another reason she wanted to produce it. The Big 10 Play Consortium, consisting of theatre department chairs from those universities, started an initiative to produce more plays written by women with strong female roles. They commissioned female playwrights for five consecutive years. “Good Kids” was the first initiative. “The play has eight women and four men,” Neilsen said.
Many events have been planned in conjunction with the performance, including panel discussions, bystander training and post-production talk-backs for high school students, a faculty lecture, and a Will Act for Change performance. A discussion with Adams State faculty and staff about having difficult conversations in the classroom and a panel that focuses on how to talk about sex in a positive way will also be included.
This production is rated R for mature language and content. Tickets are $10 for general public, $9 for seniors and students, and free to Associated Students and Faculty with current ASU I.D. The Adams State box office number is 719-587-TIXX (8499).
Caption: Adams State actresses Molly Bibeau and Katie Miller rehearse for the theatre production, Good Kids, a quick paced show that speaks to a generation of Snapchat, Instagram, and YouTube users. Tickets go on sale April 20. Photo by Russell Geminden