Thank goodness for nonprofit theatre company Girl Be Heard for prominently featuring difficult but important topics in their shows. Their brand of devised theatre is an antidote to society’s complete ignorance of the kinds of issues that negatively affect young girls and women. Inherently educational as well as entertaining, they prove that young women are not all blissfully ignorant of the ways in which images in the media does a huge disservice to females. As their shows are all written by young female artists mostly in their late teens and early 20s, they tend to be refreshingly honest, unapologetic and totally relatable.
Blurred Lines is no exception. Directed by Tiff Roma, the latest show by Girl Be Heard is a take-down of rape culture and the sexual violence perpetrated on women, girls and the trans community in the United States. Telling stories that address the variety of cultures, races and ethnicities represented by the cast, the actors perform a series of short plays that are sometimes satirical, sometimes heartbreaking, and always thought-provoking.
A college applicant (Gabriela Carrera) tries to write her admissions essay amid confusing feelings about her sexuality, which has been continually suppressed by her family yet encouraged by the media. A college student (Jesse Krebs) wakes up in a male friend’s bed struggling to remember what happened after drinking too much coconut rum. A young woman (Allison Flom) dictates a letter to a woman she witnessed getting beaten by her husband in public. A Latina mother (Maria Diez) tries to explain machismo to her 7-year-old son, worrying that he’s either too young to understand or too old to change his mindset from what he’s witnessed already.
These are only a few of the stories the ensemble of Girl Be Heard so bravely amplify. They speak for the voiceless, the ones who cannot speak out for fear that their lives will be in jeopardy. Girl Be Heard shows should be required viewing for all school curricula, and that is exactly their mission. Instead of teaching what it means to be female through a male-dominated media with all its hypersexuality mixed with misplaced body and slut shaming on top of a culture that silences rape survivors, this group aims to reach girls the only way they know how: through their intellect.