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Review: RIPPED at Loud Fridge Theatre Group Is an Excellent and Nuanced Look at Sexual Consent

Review: RIPPED at Loud Fridge Theatre Group Is an Excellent and Nuanced Look at Sexual Consent

Playing through February 5TH

Loud Fridge Theatre Group started off its 2023 theatrical year with an excellent and thoughtfully nuanced look at a sexual assault on a college campus. When Lucy wakes up one morning she is confronted with a puzzle of not remembering the events of the night before, and unsure who she can trust, including her own memory, as she tries to piece everything together. RIPPED from Loud Fridge Theatre Group is playing through February 5th at OnStage Playhouse.

Written by Rachel Bublitz, RIPPED opens with Lucy (Amira Temple) asleep in a bed, and you can see her discomfort and confusion as she starts to wake up. Her confusion only grows as she battles an epic hangover, and finds a piece of her favorite dress on one side of the bed, and an empty bottle of alcohol on the other. Her chance for orientation is soon interrupted when a very happy and energetic Jared (Marcel Ferrin) has brought coffee and pastries back to the room.

Told in a non-linear way with time jumps back and forth, the audience sees the events and the people that led up to that night in pieces, bringing both clarity and more complicated contexts.

Lucy is a college freshman having left behind her friends, family, and high school boyfriend Bradley (Devin Wade) in San Diego for Berkley. When she gets lost on campus she runs into Jared who is more interested in getting back to his house than meeting and helping the confused freshman. Soon though she has won him over to give her a safety escort back to her side of campus. Slowly they become friends, bonding over having left their hometowns for school, and Jared showing her around school and San Francisco.

Review: RIPPED at Loud Fridge Theatre Group Is an Excellent and Nuanced Look at Sexual Consent
Marcel Ferrin and Amira Temple. Photo credit: Brittany Carrillo.

Her ex-boyfriend Bradley stayed in San Diego to attend community college, and before Lucy left she gives him the "it's best if we break up now" speech, which he doesn't agree with but reluctantly concedes. When she returns over a holiday break, Bradley is much more surly and insecure about her new college friendships, but he was her high school sweetheart and best friend so she can trust him to understand and have her best interests at heart, right?

Review: RIPPED at Loud Fridge Theatre Group Is an Excellent and Nuanced Look at Sexual Consent
Amira Temple and Devin Wade. Photo credit: Brittany Carrillo.

The performances and the chemistry between all three of these performers are excellent, they're natural and they each make their characters incredibly likable. Temple especially has to navigate serious emotional shifts between scenes as well as be believably inebriated within arms reach of the audience and does so skillfully. Merrin and Wade portray very different people, but both also bring similar depth and facets to their characters. They are each differently charming and warm and you can see why Lucy likes them both, but they also have moments where they angrily dismiss Lucy's experiences with them while also justifying what occurred.

That you can empathize with all of them, even as they make choices that will have lasting consequences is a testament not only to the performers but to the direction from Kate Rose Reynolds and John Wells III.

Reynolds and Wells make sure that the play never feels melodramatic, and that everything is grounded in reality. There are many funny and charming parts to the show and the characters which makes their decisions and consequences of them that much more difficult. There is no hero versus villain, instead, this story highlights the complexity of these types of situations; there are always multiple sides and nothing is a cut and dry one would wish.

Part of why the cast has excellent chemistry is that they trust each other in portraying these emotionally fraught situations and that is thanks to the work of Intimacy Director Kandace Crystal. It is reassuring as an audience member to know that this was created in a safe environment for everyone involved.

In college, I was a resident advisor, and also part of the sexual assault response team when one was reported in the dorms. I worked with people through many of these reports and I was struck by how true to life and those experiences this production felt to me.

Along with the performances and direction, this production is enhanced by the lighting from Kevin "Blax" Burroughs that plays with light and darkness to obscure and reveal to move the story forward. Projections by Estefania Ricalde help establish the dates and times as the timeline moves around. The set by Alyssa Kane (built by Anthony Garcia) and the props by William BJ Robinson effectively set the scene and leave some breadcrumbs for the plot to follow. It also uses space so that it is both intimate and the character's reactions are impossible to miss. The sound design by Brianna Wing is detailed and polished, and the costumes by Emily Carter feel true to the characters and time.

RIPPED is a play that not only has strong performances but also will inspire many conversations about consent, responsibility, and trauma. If this is how Loud Fridge Theatre Group starts their 2023 theatrical I am excited to see what else the year holds for them.

How To Get Tickets

RIPPED from Loud Fridge Theatre Group is playing Jan. 21 through Feb. 5 at OnStage Playhouse, 291 Third Ave., Chula Vista. For ticket and showtimes information go to loudfridge.com/shows.



Photo Credit: Loud Fridge Theatre Group and Brittany Carrillo



Interview: Directors Kate Rose Reynolds & John Wells III Talk RIPPED at Loud Fridge Th Photo
Interview with RIPPED directors Kate Rose Reynolds and John Wells III, about working together as joint directors, and why this play is more topical than ever as it explores from multiple angles an incident of a female college freshman who believes she was sexually assaulted. 

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San Diego Opera's 2022-2023 season continues with another world premiere evening when the Company presents Ghosts, an evening of three horror-inspired one-act operas by local composer Nicolas Reveles on Friday, April 14, 2023 at 7:30 PM at the Balboa Theatre (868 4th Ave. San Diego, CA). Additional performances are April 15 at 7:30 PM and April 16 at 1 PM. 

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