As I entered CASA 0101’s main stage, I was amazed by how bright and colorful the set was. On the floor there was a drawing of a woman’s uterus and eggs and on the walls on each side of the stage was written the word “Power.” Two big screens were placed on top of the stage and they showed images and video footage of half naked women that were in ads for beer, clothing, and various other products. There were also ads that showed statistics of how many women are sexually assaulted every year here in America. Throughout my life, I have been surrounded by these images, so why did I still feel uncomfortable?
The playwrights, Josefina Lopez, Rocio Diaz, and Libette Garcia, did not intend their audience to feel comfortable while watching the play Drunk Girl. Like many other plays CASA 0101 has shown on its main stage, Drunk Girl challenges the audience to think about difficult issues in order to inspire them to talk about and change them. Through the use of dark humor, Drunk Girl encourages both men and women to reevaluate the meaning of consent and to stand and speak against the rape culture that plagues America.
“Red Flag Game Show,”the first scene in Drunk Girl, immediately starts to challenge the audience by making them consider if they would know what the actions of a gentleman are. During this scene, women of different ages try to guess whether a man is a rapist, a serial killer, a creeper, a stalker, or a gentleman. Various men introduce themselves, and even Christian Grey makes an appearance. This made me wonder if I am be able to tell the difference and I became troubled when I realized that my answer was no.
As the play continued, the meaning and importance of consent was reiterated. Playwright and actress Libette Garcia said she hoped that people were “reminded that sexual experiences need to be consensual. Often, women feel obligated to do things they don’t want to do. In many parts of the play, women are reminded that they can say no and men are reminded to protect women if they find that women are in danger of rape or sexual assault.”
One such scene, “Unlucky Man,” shows the case of a man who was sent to prison for raping a woman. This man emphasized that she kept showing him she wanted him with her body, so he took her to his apartment and had sex with her. He never says that the woman explicitly said yes to having sex with him, and this made all the difference. He explains he was raped in jail even though he kept screaming no. As he weeps, he explains that getting raped is a person’s own kind of prison. This prison is what thousands of men and women in America have to live through after getting raped.
While Drunk Girl has some stories created by the creative minds of the playwrights, many of the cases shown were taken from the playwrights’ own experiences and conversations.Josefina Lopez says that she “was inspired by all the women who were raped by Bill Cosby coming forward and society finally believing women.” Lopez teaches writing classes and says that “a lot of students have shared being sexually violated or experiencing traumas due to physical abuse so I wanted to write stories about courage, rage and all the things society does not want to talk about.”
“Drunk Girl” premieres tonight and there is limited seating left. Get your tickets online at casa0101.org or call 323-263-7684 to reserve your spot. Use the promo code: realmen to get $5 off general admission! #DrunkGirl #RealWomenHaveCurves #YesMeansYes #BoyleHeights #LosAngeles #Consent #BillCosby
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Lopez succeeded in her task of encouraging people to talk about these issues because these stories forced the audience to think about how rape culture surrounded them and to speak against it. In one powerful moment, when a character asked members of the audience to stand up if they had been raped, a woman did indeed stand up. This showed the other audience members how common this is and also showed how safe this woman felt to share her experience to a room full of strangers. A work of art can be influential when it addresses such sensitive material as rape. People can show statistics but it is different when you show this act occurring and when you put a face to that statistic. This presentation can be more powerful than facts.
“Essentially, we all want our “fairytale”—whatever that may mean to us. Whether you are someone who wants one lover for the rest of your life, or you are an ethical Chingona having some promiscuous fun, the intimate experiences with people are precious to us. We want to be safe, we want to have fun, we want to be cared for, and we want to share reciprocal feelings with someone,” says actress Maia Villa.
In the scene, “Lolita Corazon,” Villa plays Lolita, a Chingona who is proud of being what men call a “tease.” Lolita demonstrates that women can and should take control of their sexuality and should not be shamed for it. She, like other characters in the play, was raped and says that maybe one day she will feel comfortable to have sex, but for now, she is owning and taking care of herself. Lolita demonstrates that women should not be shamed for acting sexy because dressing and acting sexy does not mean women want to have sex.
As Drunk Girl draws to a close, all of the actors and actresses come out, some playing guitars or pounding on drums and shout, “no means no” and continuously say it is only okay to have sex with someone if he or she says yes. The actors take their final bow and exit the stage. After seeing the play, the word “Power” that is written on both sides of the stage now stands out to me even more. In the span of two hours Drunk Girl showed me that we do have the power to change rape culture. We need to speak up against it. People need to understand that when someone says no, it means no. There is no double meaning. Women should be able to feel safe everywhere they go. People need to understand that nothing gives them the right to have sex with someone if he or she says no because that is not sex, it is rape. Drunk Girl makes it clear that nobody should feel comfortable with the sexualization of women and rape culture.