By Amanda Martinez
Our first show…i.e. the big social experiment. The biggest memory I’ll probably take away from this performance was we now call, “The Frat Boys.”
Let me layout the scene: Frat boys house right, sorority girls center, professors house left, all participants downstage, while the rest of the audience was positioned upstage and beyond. It was a tribute to Hamlet’s play within a play and rather than watching us, everyone was honed in on the experience the frat boys were having while they watched Abigail prance around onstage as Robin Thicke (yes, that Robin Thicke) and tear the rest of us down during the scene #WhatsUrStatus?, calling us prudes and sluts and everything in between, all while spewing lyrics from Blurred Lines. (It is as ridiculous as it sounds.) The boys loved it, but for all the wrong reasons. They were actually empathizing with Robin Thicke, and cheered him on the entire time. The audience was watching us, yes, but the frat boys reactions were far more interesting.
This made me think, “Well geez, did they hear or watch anything we had to say or do onstage?” And I guess the real question now is, does it matter? What we were doing affected those guys, which in turn affected the rest of the audience – and having an affect on anyone at all is definitely getting some kind of message out there. It was our first full stab at the show and it was good for us to know the deeper implications of the show – how it read to people, even if it was slightly different from what we anticipated. Even though they didn’t always get what we wanted them to get out of it, they got something from it – and I guess that’s really what counts the most. They took stock in the play and that’s huge. They let it affect them, and later, during the date rape scene, they got it. In one moment, they understood what we were trying to say about the media sexualization of women, and how many of us don’t fit into those stereotypes, and the anger that comes from that sexualization in the first place. It may have come late, but the a-ha! moment did come.
When the show was over, most of the audience stayed for the talk back – but not the frat boys. I guess they weren’t ready. And that’s okay. Sometimes change comes in small pieces, but I know that for those guys, it did come. Maybe they’ll stay next time.