In today’s news cycle, stories come and go. Issues are replaced by the next moment of breaking news and some are just not reported on.
That doesn’t mean that the issues stop, however, or that the victims of some events can move on like the news cycle.
Griffin Theatre Companies Wherever She Wanders, written by Kendall Feaver, explores one of these issues: rape culture in Australian universities.
Urban Village spoke to Julia Robertson, who plays Paige, an 18-year-old who has arrived at her first day of college.
From a small coastal town, Paige has lived a relatively sheltered life, and arrives at university excited to expand her horizons.
The production was originally set to be part of Griffin’s 2020 season but had to be postponed.
The play is set inside one of Australia’s oldest residential colleges where scandal is rare, or rather knowledge of such scandals is rare to the outside world.
The play looks at the characters Nikki and Jo, a journalism student, and a Master in the college respectively, and their approaches and opinions to allegations that surface.
For Julia, much of the beauty of the play comes from equal look at differing perspectives on the issue.
“I think the benefit of having multi-generational perspectives, different ethnic backgrounds and so many balanced perspectives in the text that are so well executed by Kendall, that it’s a really fascinating thing to watch because I think everyone can align with every character at some point” says Julia.
Wherever She Wanders provides a much-needed discussion point to such a prevalent issue that is so often swept under the rug. For the cast and crew, the goal is to continue the discussion once the curtains close.
Julia says: “It’s so important that we continue talking about it because this is the kind of subject matter where it is sensitive and people just avoid the discussion altogether, because they’re worried that they’re going to make mistakes when speaking about it.”
“…But at the same time, how do you bring things to light and how do you make progress without having those discussions at every given point with different kinds of people and respecting every different perspective on that issue and arriving somewhere that is a step forward.”
Wherever She Wanders explores several issues that surround modern day campus rape culture, such as the division it can create within feminist discourse, the conversation that exists around second wave and third wave feminists, and whether you can balance looking after yourself and looking after your fellow identifying women.
Julia says: “So much of what the play is about is different feminist perspectives, and how to be a good feminist or what is the right feminist and I think we’re only really reaching a point where we can respect other kinds of feminism and disagree on things for the greater good and essentially, there is no one right way to be a feminist, and there needs to be a continuous evolving discussion.”
The play also looks at the role that online activism can play in the debate, and the surrounding intergenerational discourse that can occur through both the benefits and dangers of online activism.
Wherever She Wanders will run from July 16th – August 14th at the SBW Stables Theatre, at 10 Nimrod Street Kings Cross 2010. You can book your ticket at: https://griffintheatre.com.au/whats-on/wherever-she-wanders-2/