Tuesday, September 27, 2016


Photograph provided by The Pocono Mountains Theater Company.

An intimate number of theater lovers gathered together in The Smith McFarland Theater located within the Fine Arts Building on the Campus of East Stroudsburg University of PA on Saturday September 24th to experience a Staged Reading of a new play written by Kim Davies www.kim-davies.com titled, “STET.” The Pocono Mountains Theater Company co Produced the presentation with The Muse Project. STET was Directed by Kel Haney with Michelle Jones serving the production as its Stage Manager. The performances for the evening were given by Jack Fellows, Dea Julien, Jocelyn Kuritsky, Lexi Lapp, and Bruce McKenzie. The Stage Directions were read by Jenna Worrell.

The play is about a reporter (Jocelyn Kuritsky) who is given an assignment by her editor (Bruce McKenzie) to cover a rape that occurred on a college campus. The reporter is reluctant to take the assignment as similar stories have been done many times before. However, her editor is insistent and challenges her to find a new angle to the story. She agrees and begins interviewing a young female student (Lexi Lapp) who was gang raped by a fraternity, a college administrator (Dea Julien), and a member of a fraternity (Jack Fellows). The stories she hears begins to have an effect on her journalistic aloofness as she connects to the feelings of vulnerability and anger of the topic she's writing about. The article gets published to a great deal of acclaim which includes television interviews being scheduled for the reporter. Yet, in talking to the young female student about the article, she discovers the young woman embellished the rape because, “It’s like, I was raped, and nobody cared, and it did not matter.”

The play itself is based on an article titled, “A Rape on Campus” which appeared in an issue of Rolling Stone Magazine in 2014. The investigative piece centered on a college freshman’s claim of being a victim of a brutal gang rape. The magazine eventually retracted the article which was later found to have significant lapses in reporting, editing, and fact-checking. There were also reasons to suggest that the college freshman had fabricated or exaggerated parts of her story. The article and the publication of it raised a number of journalistic issues regarding ethics along with concerns that it would encourage a belief that many women invent rape allegations.

Although the play reflects upon the journalistic issues the formation of the “A Rape on Campus” Article raises, the piece also explores long self denied revelations of many of the female characters and their emotional responses to them. This is especially true of Ms. Kuritsky's character who discovers her journalistic armour doesn't protect her from the universal fear that a woman can be made to feel worthless any given second through the act of rape or other more subtle and not so subtle methods still prevalent in our society.

The word “Stet” is Latin meaning “let it stand” and is used as a proofreading mark to instruct the writer to disregard a change the editor had previously made. Utilizing the term as the title of the play may depict the tendency of rape victims who find it an overwhelming struggle to share their stories, have them believed, and receive a sense of closure through the judicial system to simply opt to disregard the change that occurred in her life that she will never be made whole. In other words, “let it stand.”

The performance of STET was presented as a staged reading by actors who delivered their lines so superbly that the scripts they held in their hands dissolved into the emotional depths instilled in the play by its author; Kim Davies. Presenting a play without blocking or scenery doesn't give the audience the full flavor of the work but it does allow one to focus on the qualities found in the written word and the powers it can evoke. This was very true of the Pocono Mountains Theater Company/The Muse Project co - production in which Ms. Davies' literary voice could be heard through the lips of those who rendered it. It was good fortune for those who were present to hear them.

The Staged Reading of STET was co produced by The Pocono Mountains Theater Company (PMTC) in partnership with The East Stroudsburg University (ESU) of PA Theater Department and The Muse Project as part of PCMT's Fall Reading Series. Their next Staged Reading will take place at The PourHouse in Mountainhome, PA on Friday October 21st at 6 and 8pm. The play presented is part of PCMT's Barrett Township Staged Reading Series and is titled, “Barely Standing... My Life In Trouble” written and performed by Laura Spaeth. The next Staged Reading to take place in ESU's Smith McFarland Theater will be of the play titled, Laughing Wild” by Christopher Durang on Saturday October 22nd beginning at 7pm.

The Muse Project was formed by Jocelyn Kuritsky www.JocelynKuritsky.com and is devoted to providing female actors with the resources and stimulation to create theatrical art out of their deepest impulses and unfulfilled artistic desires. This is done by pairing a selected actor with a director and/or playwright as well as any other necessary creative collaborators to create a theater piece. The Muse Project was launched in the June of 2016 and made its world premiere at the Abingdon Theatre Company www.abingdontheatre.org in New York, NY. You can learn more about The Muse Project by exploring their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/museprojectnyc/?fref=ts or their Website at www.themuseprojectnyc.com.

The Pocono Mountains Theater Company was formed in 2015 by Sarah T. Schwab www.sarahtschwab.com and Brian Long www.brianlongartistmgmt.com to serve the Monroe County, PA area. In serving the region, they hope to produce and develop diverse new works by artists both local and national, produce two to three main stage performances a year featuring well-known actors with residencies provided for local theater producers and artists, provide the local and regional community the opportunity to become involved in the development process of new works, and to create a destination for local, regional, and tri-state residents to experience their productions. You can learn more about The Pocono Mountains Theater Company by exploring their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/PoconoMountainsTheaterCompany/?fref=ts or their Website at www.poconomountainstheatercompany.org.

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