Photo courtesy of TheatreSewanee
Reviewed by Reece Jamison
Good Kids, playing at the Tennessee Williams Center April 7-8 and 13-15, is a fast paced, intricate, and striking play focused on a sexual assault in a small town. The play very honestly and deftly discusses themes of accountability, identity, gender, and morality through the lense of technology and its mysterious yet ever present impact on society.
The set as a whole was eerie, dark and complex but right on the nose for channeling the emotional impact of the play. The immense network of interweaving white lines painted throughout were met on the ceiling with three giant warped phones, looking very similar to fun house mirrors. Silver curtains hanging from the ceiling in the background invoked a sense of beauty and grace, only to be contrasted by the ragged and tattered cloth weaved throughout the white web.
The story follows a small town group of high school students caught up in the moral dilemma of a sexual assault. Chloe, played by Kate Schumaker (C’19), attends a hazy and intoxicated party hosted by Amber, played by Karissa Wheeler (C’19), where she was raped by members of the high school football team, who both captured the act on video and posted it to Facebook. After a blaze of tweets and accusations, the relationships between all of these “good kids” grow tense and the plot develops in a way uncomfortably similar to real-life contemporary cases.
The play itself was very well done. The very brusque and colloquial storytelling creates dialogue between the characters that is very easy to relate to and made all the more gripping by the impassioned acting of the cast. The story is one concerning the socially taboo topic of hookup culture, but none the less shows its originality in the matter by invoking a more in-depth, philosophical inquiry into the matter.
The importance of Good Kids is made all the more relevant when one considers the actual reports of Facebook live streams of sexual assault and even the Vanderbilt rape case that have ravaged the media in recent years. The overall significance of the work is that though it is a fictional story, the events that inspire it are very much a reality.