REVIEW: Slut Shaming

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This is by far Xavier’s most ambitious season since starting their Theatre major.  That’s obvious when looking at the line up.  What might not be obvious is that this production – SLUT SHAMING – the first this season opens literally three days after classes began.

While school just started, its obvious work on this production has been underway a little longer as the three actresses – Katie Mitchell, Cassie Delicate, and Hannah Sheppard – handle this overwhelming and difficult material very well.  They each play a version of “Lauren” as well as multiple characters throughout the show.  It’s a whirlwind of a script, as Trey Tatum and his trademark lyrical and confrontational command of language flows, drips, and sometimes spits from the mouths of these three women.  It’s a remarkable experience.

I enjoyed it when I saw it at the Fringe Festival two years ago.  I thought it was a brilliant examination of a subject not talked about enough.  Fast forward two more years and we have stories like Brock Turner clogging our news feeds on FaceBook and the culture has shifted.  Maybe not enough. But it has shifted.

And Tatum has updated his script just a tad to reflect that.  The tone of this piece seems more hopeful than it did before.  The staging by Bridget Leak is engaging; the action moves with the story – a story of time travel and trauma.  It’s a must see.

Xavier University’s Title IX department is sponsoring the show so that any student who wishes to see it can do so at no charge.  And then the coordinator for the department, Kate Lawson, as well as a crisis advocate host a talkback following the performance.  The talkback on opening night lasted almost as long as the show itself as students had lots of questions, comments, and very thoughtful reactions to the material in the show.  Tatum and Leak were there, too, to answer some questions about the play itself.

It was truly a remarkable night of theatre.  And social consciousness.  Which is sometimes the best partnership.

Xavier has an ambitious season ahead of them, with two monster musicals, one of Shakespeare’s most epic tragedies, and some very intense and wonderful plays.  If SLUT SHAMING is a sign of things to come then I’m all in.

SLUT SHAMING plays through the weekend.  There are some tickets available for the general public for Saturday night’s performance.  Click here for more information and updates.  And anyone who reads this who might consider producing the play on their campus or for their organization should contact Bridget Leak through her web site as well.  Everyone should see this show.  Everyone should talk about this show.  Everyone.