Aegis Project addresses rape issues in campus-touring play “Extremities”

The Aegis Project’s production of “Extremities” examines the issue of rape in our society. Geneseo alumnus Christopher LaBanca directed this emotional play in the hope of spreading awareness about rape and sexual assault. The Geneseo production on March 23 represented just one of the project’s stops on a seven-school tour.

“Extremities,” William Mastrosimone’s 1982 play, portrays a woman named Marjorie as a male stranger attacks her at home. When he tries to sexually assault her, she fights back and turns the tables on her attacker. This unusual situation examines the disturbing difficulty that comes with being a victim of attempted rape. Even though Marjorie is the victim, it becomes doubtful that she can prove this man’s sexual crime. The show evolves into a complicated knot of implications as she gets revenge on the man that tried to rape her.

LaBanca first discovered the show in School of the Arts professor Randy Kaplan’s acting class. LaBanca said the show resonated with him immediately and he knew it was something he wanted to direct. He added that although he doesn’t consider the writing top-notch, he finds its message extremely important and relevant.

In his research, LaBanca said he came across many statistics in regard to rape in our society that fueled his passion for the issue: One in five women will get raped in their college career and every two minutes a sexual assault occurs in our country. These numbers make it evident that we cannot simply sweep this problem under the rug. The Aegis Project’s mission is to educate as many people as possible about rape, an issue that is for many people difficult to discuss.

The actors performed the play as a reading, a form of theater wherein actors read from scripts while given verbal stage directions. The show was originally meant for a full production, but certain circumstances prevented this.

In addition, Freshman Abby Herron stepped in to play one of the supporting roles in the show.

Performing the show as a reading heightened its intensity, as audience members were able to fully focus on the actors as well as intimately face the subject matter.

A discussion followed the reading where audience members were able to engage with the cast on the issues that the play brought up. Both the actors and LaBanca discussed their views on rape in our society and the way it is handled in our legal system.

“There is power in communication, there is power in talking about this,” said actor and alumnus John Kaczorowski.

The entire project focuses on knocking down the barriers that prevent discussion of this very real topic. A few schools turned down performances of “Extremities” due to the controversial subject matter. Others stated that they were not ready to show something like it because they were still in a research stage. As LaBanca and The Aegis Project insist, however, there is no time to wait.