Sensitive Guys tackles the reality of sexual assault on college campuses. The play is a comedy, but it takes on a very real and difficult issue. It revolves around two separate student groups whose goals include discussing sexual assault and holding each other accountable for wrong behaviors. The characters are working on getting their shit together and bettering themselves.
One group is made up of strong women who have all experienced sexual assault and come together in their meetings to support each other. They are faced with the challenge of creating a presentation for new students in order to prove to administration they deserve the school’s funding. The group is struggling to get their presentation together when one of their meetings is interrupted by a new member. The new member has recently been sexually assaulted. While sharing her story with the group, she learns the school’s administration ignores any complaints of sexual assault. The group learns the person who assaulted her is a member of their partner group which consists of young men discussing their actions and how they can improve how they treat women. The group is supposed to hold each other accountable, but they don’t go as far as reporting the stories shared. This causes a conflict between the groups and inspires the women’s presentation.
The cast is brilliant. Each actor plays multiple characters flawlessly. The transitions between male and female characters is integrated into the play in order to share two sides of the same story with the audience. The play ends without a true resolution. The young woman who was recently assaulted never gets justice in the traditional sense. However, this is part of what make the play honest. It is realistic. It doesn’t sugar-coat things or give anyone false hope. The reality is most sexual assaults go unreported. Some victims never even tell their closest friends. Victims are often not taken seriously or told they should make sure their story is air-tight because it is very hard to prove sexual assault. Woman are made to feel the legal process and the damage it may cause is not worth reporting the assault because the perpetrator often gets little to no punishment. Playwright MJ Kauffman handled this tough issue with elegance and made the audience aware that rape happens every where. It’s not going to change unless we change society.
InterAct Theatre Company partnered with Women Organized Against Rape (WOAR) in order to provide the audience with resources, information, and a safe space in order to help deal with the seriousness of sexual assault and the emotions the play has the potential of triggering.