Loud Fridge Theatre Group Debuts Official First Season with Local Playwright Piece, RIPPED

A Very Real Play that Breaks Down the Shifts between Consent, Abuse, and Assault 

A Blog View by Alejandra Enciso-Dardashti

Amira Temple and Marcel Ferrin - Photo Credit: Brittany Carrillo
After an almost three-year hiatus, the new company Loud Fridge Theatre Group founded in 2019, comes back to the scene officially presenting their first season with Ripped, a play by Rachel Bublitz that premiered in 2019 at the Z Space Theatre and also is the winner of the Detroit New Works Festival Award.

Directed by Kate Rose Reynolds and John Wells III. Ripped follows Lucy (Amira Temple) a San Diego native on her college journey to Berkeley in the Bay Area during the fall of 2015. 

Trigger warning: The following lines contain the description of the story that involves sexual assault. 

Lucy has been dating Bradley (Devin Wade) since high school and does not want to be tied down/feel free to explore future experiences while studying in another city. Bradley does not love the idea, but agrees to stay on her good side since he is going to a local college. While the semester goes by, Lucy meets fellow student Jared (Marcel Ferrin) and takes a liking to him. They develop a flirty relationship and during a game of hide and seek, kiss. While Lucy is on thanksgiving break in San Diego, she goes out with Bradley and raves about her experience on campus and her new friend Jared. The former boyfriend not ecstatic about the convo, and visibly jealous, pushes on to have sex with Lucy to which she says no and he does it anyway. She goes back to San Francisco and in sort of a haze gets wasted drunk in her apartment, goes to Jared's, and passes out in his bed. She wakes up the next day in her underwear, not remembering anything and her dress is ripped on the floor.

Alyssa Kane's somber set design built by Anthony Garcia accentuates a suspenseful tone in the story through simple grays and browns that match Emily Carter's costume design for Bradley and Jared who wear toned-down colors versus Lucy's sky blue dress and all black sweat pants after the assaults. 

Kevin “Blax” Burroughs delivers a powerful lighting design once more by guiding the different passages of the story delicately going  hand in hand with Brianna Wing's sound design accentuating the feel accordingly.

Amira Temple and Devin Wade - Photo Credit: Brittany Carrillo

This is a very sensitive topic to stage and direct, I can see the Reynolds-Wells duo tag-teaming to hit the marks as accurately as they can be, guided too by the intimacy direction of Kandace Crystal during the sensitive, difficult scenes that were delivered boldly, yet carefully paced. Amira Temple is raw and histrionically clear portraying feelings of confusion, shock, denial, and awareness. The important aspect for me to point out in this play, is how consent can "shift" and sadly the gray areas that can be portrayed,  how abuse, rape, and assault can happen at any age to anyone but how a college setting and young students can blur the lines/context. Both Ferrin and Wade deliver contrasting, ying-yang emotions that as an audience member leave you asking questions and then, re-evaluating the question with a different answer. The three actors are on point with Amira carrying the weight of the piece.

It is an 80-minute play with no intermission and it could go no other way as having a break would totally disrupt the feeling going.  
While the story is running, there is a projection of dates starting a timeline so audiences can grasp the order of events, and how everything took place because it goes back and forth on a black chalkboard setting that underlines each date with a screeching sound. By the fourth date, it sort of becomes monotonous and even though you need them to follow along with what is going on, I believe it can be resolved in a more dynamic way, maybe not going back and forth so much, or using different projections with different colors. I am not a creative y'all, but that is the feeling I got.

The opinion regarding consent with this piece will go a million ways and bravo to Loud Fridge for putting the conversation on the (stage) table so we can continue to debate and make clear that this is not a gender issue. And I am sure many will see themselves in this play and have an inside dialogue as well.

Ripped is currently playing at Onstage Playhouse in Chula Vista until Sunday, February 5. For ticket prices and performance times please click HERE

Please note: Audiences must be masked during the performance. 

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