January 26, 2021

‘Extremities’ raises sexual assault awareness

On Jan. 30 through Feb. 1, Sexual Empowerment and Awareness (SEAT) sponsored showings of “Extremities” by William Mastrosimone. The play was performed at the Clarence Brown Lab Theatre. Each performance was followed by a discussion panel to address sexual assault in today’s society.

From left to right: Jacob Clark (stage manager), Holly Ningard, Cpl. Kelly Mihalik, Sgt. Cedric Roach, Professor Dwight Aarons, and Jessie Holder Tourtellotte.

On Jan. 30 through Feb. 1, Sexual Empowerment and Awareness (SEAT) sponsored showings of “Extremities” by William Mastrosimone.  The play was performed at the Clarence Brown Lab Theatre.  Each performance was followed by a discussion panel to address sexual assault in today’s society.

The play features three women- Marjorie, Terry, and Patricia- who are roommates and a unknown male, Raul, who had stalked them for some time.  The three roommates are conflicted on how to address Raul who tries to rape Marjorie in the beginning of the play but is tied up by Marjorie.

“I enjoyed the performance overall,” said Clair Berger, a junior in UT’s nursing program who attended.  “I liked how they depicted the experiences of everyone involved (referring to sexual assault victims, perpetrators, and relatives/friends of victims).”  “I also liked that it was held on campus for students.”

Extremities
Jessie Holder Tourtellotte as Marjorie at the pre-showing.

The play was directed by David Ratliff, House Manager at the Clarence Brown Theatre, and Kolt Free, a senior studying theatre, psychology, and music for an interdisciplinary program.  The play starred a variety of actors: Jessie Holder Tourtellotte as Marjorie, John Tourtellotte as Raul, Danielle Pressley as Terry, and McKinley Merrit, a senior at UT, as Patricia.

The actors had a strong performance and were able to convey a variety of viewpoints of sexual assault in an artistic yet informative manner. At the end, they received a long applause which included some standing ovations.

After each performance, there was a discussion panel.  For the showing on Saturday, Jan 31 at 2 p.m., the panelists included Holly Ningard, a graduate student studying criminology, Cpl. Kelly Mihalik, a Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) instructor at UT, Sgt. Cedric Roach, another RAD instructor at UT, Professor Dwight Aarons, associate professor of law,  and Jessie Holder Tourtellotte, one of the cast.

From left to right: Jacob Clark (stage manager), Holly Ningard, Cpl. Kelly Mihalik, Sgt. Cedric Roach, Professor Dwight Aarons, and Jessie Holder Tourtellotte.
Panelists from left to right: Holly Ningard, Cpl. Kelly Mihalik, Sgt. Cedric Roach, Professor Dwight Aarons, and Jessie Holder Tourtellotte discussed different topics.

The panel consisted of some general prepared questions from SEAT in addition to a few from the audience.  Topics discussed ranged from terminology used for classifying sexual assault’s severity and whether the use of said terminology is a hindrance or helpful for sexual assault law, victim blaming and shaming, rape shield laws and the assaulter’s behavior profile.

For more information regarding sexual assault, the university has a website dedicated to the issue which can be found here.

Edited by Maggie Jones

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