Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Giving Voice to the Silenced (with reference to @jaclynf)

            Preparing for this show has been difficult. Aside from working with a new script (this is the first time I've ever had the pleasure to develop something original) and the technical constraints of the Festival, there's an emotional element to this work that has continually proven capable of sending me into an overwhelming tailspin of thoughts at a moment's notice.
            While I keep becoming more and more excited to start rehearsing, and also to share this beautiful piece with our audiences in Edinburgh, I still cannot help but pause and reflect upon the weight of responsibility that has been placed upon our company to tell this story and to tell it well. For this story is not far away and removed from us as a society, nor from me as a twenty-year-old student. This story is real and imminent in university life, and life after graduation.
The Interference cast in script development
            Sexual assault is an epidemic that has claimed so many casualties, and so few survivors have had the chance for their voices to be heard. Whether from fear of the public's perception or fear of the memory itself, many survivors choose not to report the crime or pursue legal action against those who have violated them.
            In her Guardian opinion piece 'What Makes a Woman Deny Her Own Rape?', Jaclyn Friedman states, "The impulse to deny or not acknowledge your own rape isn’t just about the horror of the physical violence, though someone invading your sovereign body is, in fact, an ineffable horror. But more than that, the impulse to deny your own rape is an impulse born of the cultural meaning of victimhood."
            Too often in our culture are victims blamed for 'allowing' themselves to be victimized. Too often are those who have suffered accused with being the cause of their own suffering. And too often are those who have been sexually assaulted denied the right to heal from their experience.
            And all this because the prospect of not being believed is too frightening.

            All these thoughts have been hurtling through my brain at a constant break-neck pace since first picking up Lynda Radley's script. There is so much work to be done for those who need their stories to be told and for justice to be done.  
            Our company has been given a heavy responsibility with this piece. We have been given the opportunity to speak for those who are afraid to speak up for themselves. And we have been given the chance to say to any and all survivors, 'We are listening, and we believe you.'

- Kylie Owens
Assistant Director

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