Student Written Play Showcases a Complex Issue

Ruth Gowitzke  Staff Writer

On March 6 and 7 at 7:30p.m, “Nothing Happened, Everything Happened,” premiered in the Proscenium Theatre in the Fine Arts Center. This play was written by Kaitlyn Melninkaitis, a senior at Eastern. The play explored a college student named Allie, played by Hanna Zammarieh, trying to seek justice after being raped by her boyfriend, Jared, played by Andrew Rich. Jared is brought to trial, while Allie, the jury, and the audience tries to piece together what really happened that night. It was breathtaking to watch and showed how talented Melninkaitis and the cast and crew were for putting this play together.

In the play itself, there were some interesting perspectives shown from both sides, that showed the complexity that these kinds of cases can spur. All of the relationships within the play were intriguing, especially that between Jared and Allie which was played out in court. A thought-provoking moment from the play was when one of the characters asked, “When has a case like this ever worked out for the victim?” Another formidable line from one of the characters was, “She couldn’t say no if she wanted to.”

The overall ambiance of the play was powerful. The acting from the actors and actresses in the play was great, as they captured the emotional value of the scenes well. The sound and set design of the play was also great, because it seemed to flow effortlessly from scene to scene.

After the play was finished there was a “talk back with the cast,” that gave more
insight into how Melninkaitis wrote the play. One audience member asked why the word
“rape” was not used more frequently within the script. Melninkaitis responded, “I didn’t want the play to be triggering for people by using the word rape multiple times and the word would not have been as powerful if it was said multiple times.” Another audience member asked what she was trying to convey with Jared’s character. She said that, “I
was trying to convey that he doesn’t know what consent is. He truly doesn’t understand what he did was wrong.” Another member of the audience asked her why the boyfriend was found not guilty. She responded by saying, “There are so many court cases that happen where they get no punishment, so that makes the play more powerful.”

Overall, the play had a quality message about speaking up about sexual assault and how
difficult it can be for anyone to find justice or to even speak out to others.

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