Leading up to International Women’s Day, there was an extraordinary theatre production, DISSOLVE, performed at Shambhala Hall on Tenth Street campus. Actor Emmelia Gordon was touring the West Kootenay highschools and Selkirk college with a production that explores bar culture and drug facilitated sexual assault. Their promo material has this synopsis:
DISSOLVE follows a young girl on a night out and the people she encounters, morphing between a flurry of 14 characters, both comedic and compelling. Designed to provoke thought and dialogue about sexual consent, DISSOLVE challenges us to change our beliefs and behaviour surrounding alcohol, drugs and sexual assault. DISSOLVE proposes to transform potential bystanders into ‘upstanders.’ “Anger that translates into energy and spot-on satire… the characters funny and recognizable … a rewarding show.” Vancouver Sun
This video gives you a taste of the Emmelia’s spectacular acting as she moves between characters and provokes us to wonder how we could support a friend in this situation and change a culture where this can happen. http://youtu.be/8ZBxIYwC534 The play provoked discussions in hall ways, classrooms and residence. Students in the ADDICTIONS class on Castlegar campus made the following observation:
Why do we always have to focus so much time on women keeping themselves safe? We realize that we have to do that because it is the reality in our society, but it seems like some men need to figure out why they are so lacking in self-esteem that they need to knock a woman out with drugs to have sex with her. Is this really the kind of sex or relationships they want?
In addition, a music student who saw the performance commented:
The DISSOLVE event was a very informative event and very shocking at the same time. I think it is necessary to educate people of these heavy matters that exist in our society. I believe the play itself is a good way of educating people. It grasps their attention.
After the play there was an interesting Q&A and counsellors from Nelson Victim’s Services (250-352-5777) and Nelson Community Services (250-352-9595) encouraged people to connect with support if the play was disturbing or they needed someone to talk to. Emmelia pointed out that even though this play focused on GHB and rhohpynol, alcohol is still the most used and dangerous date rape drug and that there is no such thing as consent if people are inebriated. There was also discussion about the fact that men, and particularly GQTB populations, are vulnerable to assaults as well. Thank-you to Colombia Basin Trust, Various Schools in School District #8 (Kootenay Lake), Carpenters Union Local 2300 CMAW, Local 480 Steelworkers Union, Teck Metals, Nelson Community Services & Ankors who all contributed to funding this educational theater production that has sparked much discussion and raised awareness.
Thank-you also to Ann Godderis from Trail Fair who had the vision to pull this all together and to Vancouver’s Shameleses Hussy productions who fulfilled their mandate of