Press release – for immediate publication
Distorted Realities – A Rape Victim’s Struggle for Justice
Award winning playwright and US students explore the storm of lies and hate that protect a man of talent and privilege from his guilt
When a university sports star rapes a fellow student it is the survivor who seems to be on trial – struggling with the very forces that are supposed to protect her.
The Interference, by award-winning Scotland-based playwright Lynda Radley, explores the aftermath of a crime and the disturbing attitudes that lie just under the skin of contemporary society.
While it is set in an American university, and inspired by events both in the USA and UK, the questions it raises go far beyond the campus.
Realities become distorted, the attacker is portrayed as a wronged man, his victim’s voice is drowned out and the central issue of justice is at risk as vested interests scramble to defend themselves.
The Interference, which has its world premiere at the 2016 Edinburgh Fringe, has been commissioned by 2012 Fringe First winning company Pepperdine Scotland and features a live-mixed soundscape designed and composed by multiple CATS (Critics’ Award for Theatre in Scotland) award nominee Michael John McCarthy.
It is being performed at C Venue 34, Adam House, Chambers Street, Edinburgh from 3 to 16 August.
Radley, a past Fringe First winner, says: “The play looks at the forces that are unleashed when a man of talent and privilege is accused of a rape – in this case a university sports star.
“Something very disturbing you often see in rape cases is that the survivor faces disbelief and abuse. It’s incredibly difficult as they can end up at the centre of a storm.
“In this case the fans refuse to accept their hero can do wrong, there are outpourings of hate on the internet, the media line up behind the star, the legal system is geared against her and the university authorities are terrified of damaging their reputation with funders.
“The crime is traumatic, but what follows can re-traumatise the survivor again and again as she struggles to be heard and believed. It really is no surprise that reporting and conviction rates are low.
“I think there is something very dangerous bubbling away on our society and it has to be challenged. One of the aims is to draw every member of the audience into questioning their own attitudes and the myths that exist about rape.”
Central to the play is the adulation surrounding Smith, the attacker, who is the quarterback in the university football team and how people focus more on his career and the impact on the team than on the crime or the damage to the victim.
The play’s title is a reference to American football rules allowing players to block opponents who are trying to tackle their teammate.
In doing so it highlights the seemingly infinite sources of opinion, commentary, and distorted or suppressed information that have become routine players in the aftermath of sex attacks.
The cast is made up of students from Pepperdine University in the USA, which has been presenting performances at the Fringe since 1985.
Radley, McCarthy, and producer Alex Fthenakis recently completed a week long script development residency working on the play with director Cathy Thomas-Grant and the entire 2016 Pepperdine Scotland company at the university’s campus in Malibu.
The Interference builds on the success of previous projects including 2012 Scotsman Fringe First Award winner Why Do You Stand There In The Rain?, and on Pepperdine Scotland’s interest in issues of social justice.
- Ends -
Notes to Editors
- The Interference by Lynda Radley is at C Venues 34, Adam House, Chambers Street, Edinburgh from 3 to 16 August.
- The box office is on 0845 2601234 with online booking at www.ctheFestival.com
- Tickets: Weekedn and weekday prices vary. Full price £8.50 to £11.50, concessions £7.50 to £9.50, with special prices of £5.50 to £7.50. See www.ctheFestival.comfor the ticket price of each performance.
- Time: 15.45
- Duration: 1 hour 15 minutes
- Age: 12+
Lynda Radley is an award-winning playwright and dramaturg who has been working in professional theatre for over a decade. Her play DORM was recently shortlisted for The Bruntwood Award - one of the UK’s most prestigious new writing awards. She is currently developing plays with the Traverse Theatre, Magnetic North and Stellar Quines. Lynda recently worked as dramaturg for Mark Bruce’s dance version of Dracula which won a South Bank Sky Arts award. In 2011 Lynda won a Scotsman Fringe First for her play Futureproof, a co-production between Dundee Rep Ensemble and the Traverse Theatre. Her solo show The Art of Swimming was short-listed for Meyer Whitworth and Total Theatre awards and toured internationally. Lynda is published by Nick Hern Books. Lynda frequently works as a dramaturg and creative writing practitioner in collaborative processes (National Theatre of Scotland, Citizens Theatre, Tricky Hat, Playgroup, Imaginate, In Cahootz) and adapted Under Milk Wood for the Tron Theatre's Home Nations Festival, part of The Commonwealth Games cultural programme, 2014.
Michael John McCarthy
Michael John is a Cork-born, Glasgow-based composer, musician & sound designer. Work for performance includes: The Cheviot, The Stag & The Black, Black Oil, The BFG & Steel Magnolias (Dundee Rep); Light Boxes, Letters Home & The Authorised Kate Bane (Grid Iron); Into That Darkness, Fever Dream: Southside & Sports Day (Citizens Theatre); In Time O’ Strife, Blabbermouth, The Tin Forest & The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two
Goldfish (National Theatre of Scotland), A Gamblers Guide to Dying (Gary McNair/Show & Tell); Right Now (Traverse Theatre); Bondagers (Royal Lyceum Edinburgh);; Under Milk Wood (Tron Theatre Glasgow); Glory (Janice Parker Projects), Educating Ronnie (Utter). Other companies he has worked with include The Arches, Lung Ha’s, Macrobert, Platform, People’s Light & Theatre Philadelphia, Playgroup, Poorboy, Theatre Uncut, Vox Motus and Youth Music Theatre UK. He has twice been nominated for the Critics Award for Theatre in Scotland in the category Best Use of Music & Sound.
Cathy Thomas-Grant heads the Pepperdine Scotland exchange and has served as director of Pepperdine's endeavours in Scotland since 2000. Edinburgh Festival Fringe directing credits include Mr. Happiness/The Water Engine by David Mamet (2002), Eve Ensler's Necessary Targets (2006) Robert Shenkkan's The Kentucky Cycle (2008), Karen Sunde's The Fastest Woman Alive and Naomi Iizuka's Language of Angels (2010), Why Do You Stand There In The Rain? (2012 Scotsman Fringe First Award winner), Forget Fire (2014) and Musical Direction for The Grapes of Wrath (2004).
Pepperdine Scotland is the cultural and artistic exchange between Pepperdine University's Department of Theatre and leading members of the Scottish Theatre Community. Its first commission, Peter Arnott’s Why Do You Stand There In The Rain? won a 2012 Scotsman Fringe First Award. Pepperdine has been performing at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe since 1985, and is proud to have expanded its presence in Scotland since 2012 with this exchange, developed with support from Playwrights' Studio Scotland and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
Pepperdine University is an independent, medium-sized Christian university enrolling approximately 7,700 students in five colleges and schools. Seaver College, the School of Law, the Graduate School of Education and Psychology, the Graziadio School of Business and Management, and the School of Public Policy are located on the University's 830-acre campus overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Malibu. Courses are taught in Malibu, at four graduate campuses in Southern California, permanent programme facilities in Washington, D.C., and at international campuses in Germany, England, Italy, Switzerland, Argentina, and China.
Sex crime on the campus
- In 2015 a St Andrew’s University student was jailed for five years for campus sex assaults.
- Last year around 34% of female students polled in UK research for The Daily Telegraph indicated that they had experienced sexual assault or abuse.
- In May this year the Wall Street Journal said that reports of sexual assaults on campuses had risen sharply
- In 2014 Time also reported a large increase in sexual assaults.