IU Theatre to stage timely drama ‘Good Kids,’ present special programs on sexual violence

“I’ve never worked on a piece of theater that is at the intersection of so many compelling current issues.”

Director Jonathan Michaelsen used these words to describe Naomi Iizuka’s thought-provoking drama “Good Kids,” which will open Friday, Feb. 6, at Indiana University Department of Theatre, Drama and Contemporary Dance’s Wells-Metz Theatre.

Good Kids

Erin Logan portrays Chloe and Richkard Saint-Victor is Tanner in the IU Theatre production of “Good Kids.”

“Good Kids” is a fictional work inspired by people and events surrounding the rape of a 16-year-old girl by two high school football players in Steubenville, Ohio.

“The play reflects our national obsession with football culture and the way it can create an environment of entitlement and implicit permission among young men,” said Michaelsen, chair of the Department of Theatre, Drama and Contemporary Dance at Indiana University.

“It also addresses the current national conversation regarding sexual assault and the nature of consent.

“Finally, ‘Good Kids’ depicts the chilling side of social media and lightning speed at which the most intimate images and events can spread and be judged instantly by millions of anonymous viewers.”

New plays, new voices

“Good Kids” is the first work commissioned through the Big Ten Theatre Consortium’s New Play Initiative.

The consortium will commission one play from a notable female playwright each year for the next two years, with hopes of continuing the program into the future.

Together the leaders of the universities’ theater departments aim not only to fund new works by American women but also to encourage the works’ production at the college and regional level. The resulting plays are intended to increase the number of quality, age-appropriate roles for female theater students.

In 2013, Iizuka became the first playwright selected for the initiative. She is the acclaimed author of more than 25 plays, including “Polaroid Stories” and “Skin.”

While Iizuka was chosen to write a play, she was the one who decided its timely subject.

“Good Kids” was first staged in October at the University of Michigan, and its rolling premiere will continue at Indiana University this weekend. Productions also will be staged this spring at Iowa, Wisconsin, Maryland and Purdue. In addition, readings of the play have been held at several other Big Ten universities.

In Iizuka’s drama, Chloe’s schoolmates leave behind a chilling trail of tweets that document a night she cannot remember. The audience is left to decipher the truth — and where the blame lies.

Good characters

“This play confronts many issues present in today’s society, one being the way media exploits sensitive cases like the Steubenville rape case,” said sophomore Erin Logan, who portrays Chloe in the IU production.

Lindsey Zecherle

Lindsey Zecherle plays Madison in “Good Kids.”

“There was so much coverage to sort through when I was researching the show that made it much more real and relevant.

“Instead of just digging into the script to discover who Chloe was, I was able to find real-world statements from different people to really understand who this girl is and accurately depict her.”

Logan describes her character as a confident girl, dealing with the oppressive world around her. Sometimes to find the freedom she needs, Chloe abuses alcohol. “She is strong-willed and lets loose in any way she can.”

Student actor Richkard Saint-Victor also weighed in on his “Good Kids” character: “Tanner’s role is very important because in college, we will be put in new situations, and we have to be courageous enough to do the right thing, even if it means being an army of one.”

Sparking a conversation

Logan said that as much as we hate to admit it, we live in a culture that silences rape victims and protects those responsible for assaults. “This teaches the victims that rape is something they need to deal with on their own, or, even worse, that it was their fault,” she said.

“We need to educate everyone, kids and adults alike, that rape is not something you just hear about, but it is happening all around us. ‘Good Kids’ confronts these issues and hopefully will spark an important conversation on our campus.”

As part of that conversation, a special pre-show lecture and several post-show discussions have been scheduled on different aspects of sexual violence.


“Good Kids” will be presented by the Indiana University Department of Theatre, Drama and Contemporary Dance at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 6, 7, 10, 11, 12 and 13. On Feb. 14, there will be shows at 2 and 7:30 p.m. All performances will be staged in the Wells-Metz Theatre.

Tickets are $25 for adults, $15 for students and $20 for senior citizens. They are available online, by phone at 812.855.1103 or in person at the IU Auditorium box office.

Special events

  • 5:30 p.m. Feb. 6 — In a Theatre Circle Lecture, a panel of the representatives from the Dean of Students Office, IU Health Center and Middle Way House will discuss “Sexual Violence Support Networks.”
  • Feb. 10, after the 7:30 p.m. performance — “The Law and Order of Sexual Violence” discussion will feature IU Police Department Bloomington Chief Laury Flint, IUPD Sgt. Becky Schmuhl, Bloomington police Chief Michael Diekhoff and Monroe County Circuit Court Judge Mary Ellen Diekhoff.
  • Feb. 11, after the 7:30 p.m. performance — “Sexual Violence and Online/Social Media Ethics” will feature Sandra Kuebler, professor of computational linguistics, gender studies Ph.D. candidate Shadia Siliman and a representative from the Office of Student Ethics.
  • Feb. 12, after the 7:30 p.m. performance — “How to Help Prevent Sexual Violence on College Campuses” will feature Monroe County Circuit Court Judge Valeri Haughton, Student Affairs graduate assistant Mark Houlemarde, Panhellenic President Margaret Hensley and a representative of the Oasis campus alcohol and drug information center.
  • Feb. 14, after the 2 p.m. performance — A panel of representatives from the Dean of Students Office, IU Health Center and Middle Way House will discuss “Preventing Steubenville: Combatting Sexual and Relationship Violence through Community Health Services.”
Good Kids

“Good Kids” features Melanie McNulty, Kelsey Carlisle, Lindsey Zecherle and Jenny McPherson.

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