The searing drama “Extremities” by William Mastrosimone will be presented as Fitchburg State University’s Communications Media Department spring theater production this April. The production is directed by faculty member Mary Vreeland, herself an award-winning director and actor.
Rape is about power, and what could happen if a victim took that power back from her attacker. In the play, Marjorie is assaulted in her home by Raul, a man who arrived out of nowhere, but before he can rape her, she is able to fight back. The next several hours are Marjorie’s battle with herself: In surviving the attack, what must she do to live without fear? How can she punish Raul without becoming an “animal” herself?
"Extremities" is inspired by the fantasy of taking control back from an attacker, and examines the extremes of human capacity: mercy against hatred, compassion against violence, and humanity against torture. Not for the faint of heart, "Extremities" challenges the audience to examine their own fears and prejudices surrounding rape and sexual assault in our culture.
"Extremities" will be performed at the Wallace Theatre for the Performing Arts in the McKay Complex, 67 Rindge Road. Performances will be at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 18; Wednesday, April 19; Thursday, April 20; Friday, April 21; and Saturday, April 22. There will be matinee performances at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 22 and Sunday, April 23.
Admission is free but donations will be accepted at the door. Attendees are advised the play contains graphic depictions of sexual violence.
Professor Vreeland said several factors led to the decision to stage “Extremities” as this semester’s theater production.
“First, the play's content has been and continues to be the darkest aspect of Women's History that we celebrate for a single month each year, as well as Take Back the Night awareness. It is a story that must be told again and again,” she said.
The play focuses on four complex characters in a story that reveals how victims can be labeled, othered and demeaned in the fraught pursuit of justice, Vreeland continued. “This form of injustice continues across the country and world against women, men, Indigenous women, LGBTQ, and people of all ethnicities and is embedded in cultures.”
“Extremities” also functions as a finely crafted courtroom drama that’s set in a living room.
“We know these people, we are these people, and the audience publicly struggles with the issues presented in the same way we struggle with these issues in the privacy of our apartments, dorms, houses, our homes,” Vreeland said. “Finally, all plays should provoke discussion after the curtain falls. I hope that the horror of such events as the presented, and the complexities and the mystery of our souls seeking some resolution, is a dialogue that continues long after one exits the theater.”
"Extremities" will be performed at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 18; Wednesday, April 19; Thursday, April 20; Friday, April 21; and Saturday, April 22. There will be matinee performances at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 22 and Sunday, April 23.