News / Halifax

'An opportunity for discussion:' Slut the play coming to Halifax

The play by Katie Cappiello follows a 16-year-old who is the victim of sexual violence at the hands of three male friends while en route to a party.

The cast of Slut rehearses the play on Tuesday before opening night on Thursday. The play runs from Thursday to Saturday at the Dunn Theatre at the Dalhousie Arts Centre.

Zane Woodford / Metro Order this photo

The cast of Slut rehearses the play on Tuesday before opening night on Thursday. The play runs from Thursday to Saturday at the Dunn Theatre at the Dalhousie Arts Centre.

Slut.
 
The play by the same name is coming to a Halifax stage for the first time this Thursday and already people are talking.
 
“We recently put up 150 posters across Halifax and in 24 hours almost all of them were destroyed or gone,” said Ryanne Chisholm, the play’s producer and director.
 
“Some seemed to be in hatred, with faces being scratched out. And others were people possibly not wanting the word slut up on a pole in public.”
 
Chisholm said this further highlights the importance of having conversations about sexual violence towards young women.
 
Championed by Gloria Steinem, Amy Poehler, Hilary Clinton and others, the Katie Cappiello play Slut has met with wide acclaim.
 
It follows the story of Joey Del Marco, a 16-year-old who is the victim of sexual violence at the hands of three male friends while en route to a party.

Director and producer Ryanne Chisholm and actor Koumbie of the play Slut pose for a photo at the Dalhousie Arts Centre on Tuesday. (Zane Woodford/Metro)

Zane Woodford/Metro

Director and producer Ryanne Chisholm and actor Koumbie of the play Slut pose for a photo at the Dalhousie Arts Centre on Tuesday. (Zane Woodford/Metro)

Much of the play centres around the aftermath of the event and the responses of those around her. It's told in the language of teens, so there is language some might find offensive.
 
“During the very first production in New York, the New York Times Review of the show said this show is incredibly important because of young women like Rehtaeh Parsons…so it felt very important for us to do that here,” Chisholm said.
 
“People don’t want to talk about sexual violence or consent when we’re talking about young people because they want to protect them. But I would argue that when we don’t talk to young people about these issues, we are only protecting ourselves from having uncomfortable conversations.”
 
Chisholm, who’s also co-artistic director of LunaSea Theatre, directed a student production of Slut at Theatre Antigonish about two years ago. She said it was the first time the show was performed in Canada.
 
LunaSea is now bringing Slut to Halifax from Aug. 24 to 26. Shows are free and include an open discussion following each performance.
 
“I would say to anyone concerned about the title of this play as being a barrier, come see it,” Chisholm said.
 
“I would challenge people to use it as an opportunity for discussion.”
 
Chisholm said the cast is racially diverse, body type diverse, and includes both cis and transgender women. They wanted every young woman in Nova Scotia to be able to see themselves in the characters on stage.
 
“This isn’t a problem for one specific group of people. It is quite universal,” she said.
 
Local actress and producer Koumbie is excited to be part of the Slut cast.
 
“There is diversity in this show and it has influenced what people are going to see. I think that’s so important,” Koumbie said.
 
“We were really heard, we were really listened to, and this show has been affected by it.”
 
Chisholm hopes to tour the show throughout the province this fall. A GoFundMe campaign (Help Bring Slut On Tour) has been set up to help communities that may face barriers.

Slut performances are Aug. 24-26 at the Sir James Dunn Theatre. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. nightly and 2 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

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