In February 2018 Tulane University announced that 41% of female students and 19% of male students reported being sexually assaulted since attending the college; a revelation that made national news and prompted a public outcry from students on campus.
Roleplay is a documentary film and theater piece that follows a group of Tulane college students as they spend a year exploring their own experiences with sexual violence to craft an immersive theater performance that confronts rape culture on their campus. As students dive deeper into the rehearsal process, they begin to contend with the roles they play to survive a toxic culture and in doing so, find the freedom to be themselves
The film follows the rehearsal process, students’ lives outside of the classroom, and staged fantasy sequences where students’ imaginations run wild and we understand the healing power of creative spaces.
Directed by Katie Mathews, Roleplay explores a modern American college campus through the lens of social norms and social performance - how young people wear masks, code switch and perform identities to survive - and the impact art can have as a healing practice.
The film is currently mid-way through production.
Over the course of the 2018/2019 school year, an 11-member ensemble of Tulane students, working in collaboration with acclaimed New Orleans theater company Goat in the Road Productions and Professor Jenny Mercein, is exploring their own experiences with identity, sex, power, and consent, in order to devise a theater piece that confronts toxic cultures on their campus. The approach is grounded in a belief that a project about young people, for young people, needs to also be written by young people.
Our team is intent on giving students the tools to inspire vital conversation surrounding sexual violence and ultimately, culture change, at high schools and universities across the country. As such, we are committed to offering the film, the script, a discussion guide and lesson plans to high schools and universities who seek to provide opportunities for their students to undertake creative solutions aimed at spurring dialogue as both a preventative measure and a means of healing from sexual violence.