Theatre UCF’s production of Boy Gets Girl follows the fine line of romantic persistence versus obsession – a date that goes disturbingly wrong. Boy Gets Girl will be held in the Black Box starting on Thursday, February 22 and runs through Sunday, March 4. Boy Gets Girl follows the story of Theresa Bedell, a successful reporter in New York and her blind date Tony, as what seemed like a mutual ending turns into a chilling terror for her life.
Coinciding with the performances, Orlando Shakespeare Theater and Theatre UCF will present workshops the weekend of March 2–4 with Laura T. Fisher that address the issue of sexual misconduct in the theatre community, cosponsored by Mad Cow Theater and Orlando Repertory Theatre. Ms. Fisher’s presentation is open to the public and designed for all members of the Central Florida theatre community including staff and administration, freelance Equity and non-Equity artists, and university theatre students and faculty.
In January 2015, a Chicago actor—after hearing an account of the fourth incident of sexual misconduct about the same person and theatre company—made a Facebook post that decried such acts with the rallying cry, “NOT IN OUR HOUSE.” Hundreds of responses revealed that the problem was well known, but no one felt safe enough to speak out. By March 2015, a code of conduct was underway. Coordinated by Chicago actor Laura T. Fisher, a small group of theatre companies and artists constructed a draft of The Chicago Theatre Standards.
In presenting the work of “Not in Our House” and the resultant Chicago Theatre Standards document, Fisher tells the story of how theatre artists in Chicago responded to instances of sexual harassment and physical abuse with community activism. She conveys the priorities of the document: provide communication pathways to prevent and respond to unsafe practices and inappropriate behavior; to produce a win-win strategy for producers, performers, board members and audience; to enter into self-regulation in a spirit of mentoring rather than “outing,” to “call in” rather than “call out” and to strengthen environments where artists are not discarded for mistakes or misunderstandings, nor do artists fear reprisal for reporting harassment or abuse.
After sharing the history and priorities of the document, Fisher goes through the document contents, takes questions and offers feedback. She structures and leads break-out groups and offers suggestions for community activism with an eye toward uniting rather than dividing productions, theatres, and communities.
Cynthia White, lecturer for acting and directing at UCF as well as Director of New Play Development at the Orlando Shakespeare Theater, talks about why Boy Gets Girl was selected for Theatre UCF.
“This piece was not originally what I was supposed to be directing. The change happened rather quickly, or very suddenly I should say,” explained White. “The play that we were going to do – the playwright was called out on sexual harassment allegations. In the midst of the current #MeToo movement, it just did not feel like the time and place to be producing his play.”
White explains further, “I am really fascinated by the way Rebecca Gilman, the playwright, was able to kind of draw portraits of a broad spectrum of male behavior in relationship to the idea of stalking or voyeurism. Similarly, how the three women of the play represent a broad spectrum of women as well.”
Amanda Dayton, a graduate student and actor in Boy Gets Girl, describes her experience going from one play to another.
“It was interesting being cast in a different show,” Dayton said. “I think they did a great job choosing a show that catered to the cast we already had. We came together as a group when we were reading the new show – we were very supportive of each other as we found where we fit into the new piece.”
Dayton also talks about what the rehearsal process has been like.
“The rehearsal process has been pretty amazing actually,” Dayton exclaimed. “Especially with the content of the show, there is a potential for uncomfortability. But starting with this new show and the reason behind it, I feel very comfortable with a lot of my fellow actors and don’t feel like there has been a moment where any of us have worried about the mental aspect of it.”
The show will be performed on the Theatre UCF Black Box Stage. On opening night, audience members are invited to join the cast and creative team for a post-show reception.
Although Boy Gets Girl is sold out, Theatre UCF tickets are available for $20 for the general public and $10 for those with a valid UCF ID. They can be purchased online at http://theatre.cah.ucf.edu/tickets.php or at the box office.
Public presentations of “Not in Our House” in Orlando include:
- Friday, March 2 at 2-5 p.m.: Orlando Shakespeare Theater at the Lowndes Shakespeare Center
- Saturday, March 3 at 2-5 p.m.: Theatre UCF (Free ticket required: https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pe/10249353)