‘Extremities’ strikes chord with DU audiences, urges support for survivors

By Melissa Ramirez

February 26, 2014

While Dominican’s latest theater production featured a small cast, the play was nowhere near short on powerful acting and a moving storyline with intense character emotions from the moment the curtain opened.

“Extremities,” written by William Mastrosimone, originally debuted as an off-Broadway production in 1982 featuring Susan Sarandon as lead character Marjorie, who is attacked in her home by a would-be rapist but turns the tables on the attacker. Farrah Fawcett later played the role in both the play and the 1986 film adaptation.

Even though the play originally debuted over 30 years ago, its message about sexual assault is still very relevant today. Dominican’s rendition of “Extremities” is set in the present-day in a farmhouse near Trenton, N.J.  The play begins with the character Marjorie, played by senior Becca Duff, sitting in her dining room when suddenly a man named Raul, played by local actor Tommy Malouf, lets himself into her home. After exchanging a few words, it is clear that not only has Raul been stalking Marjorie and her roommates, but also has no intention of leaving the house. He slowly begins to destroy her will, daring Marjorie to challenge him and even getting her to scream so she realizes there is no one around to hear her.

“Extremities” features very explicit adult content, including scenes of forceful action from Raul towards Marjorie.

The cast also features local actors Tracy Ewert and Vicky Giannini as Marjorie’s roommates.

The astonishing part about the whole message in “Extremities” is that the circumstances displayed in the present-day version are no different than those that happened three decades ago at the play’s inception. Despite the fact that Marjorie is assaulted, her own roommates turn against her and begin to blame her. Reactions such as these are common in real life situations and the reason for why many victims of aggravated sexual assault don’t speak up.

In the “talk-back” discussion after the show, Malouf explained he had an initial reaction of nervousness when originally reading the script.

“When I first read the script I thought this guy was Satan,” Malouf said.  “I was a little freaked out and intimidated but I found the humanity within the character.”  

Since the matters of rape culture and violence against women exist on both college campuses and the rest of the world, the cast of “Extremities” urged people that they can help be advocates for the cause by listening to friends when they need someone there, knowing who to contact in the case of a sexual assault and always keeping in mind that it is never the victim’s fault. Anyone who is a victim of sexual assault or knows of someone who is should contact the Wellness Center or the police and always know there are options for help.