Elm Staff Writer
In an unconventional twist, audience members entering Decker Theatre on Wednesday, Sept. 5 were directed toward the stage as part of the opening scene in that night’s featured performance, “Wasted.”
While the audience was on stage, the actors began roaming around and switching between their roles as bouncers at a club and the two main characters of the performance, Oli and Emma.
According to the writer and director of “Wasted,” Kat Woods, the scene was written with the audience on stage to make the performance more immersive and relatable.
At the end of the club scene, the audience was instructed to find seats in the theater. After a few more quips toward the audience, the performance transitioned from something interactive to more traditional dialogue between the two actors onstage.
Hosted by Washington College’s Prevention, Education, and Advocacy Center with support from the Department of Student Affairs, Baltimore Center Stage’s show “Wasted” explores consensual sex and what can happen when lines and memories are blurred, according to the production website.
Wednesday’s performance of “Wasted” starred Will Hearle and Serena Jennings. The performance was also a PEAC partnership awareness program with the One Love Foundation as well as the Maryland Coalition of Sexual Assault.
Rachel Boyle, PEAC director, learned of the performance through a WC alumna, Sarah Curnoles, who is employed by Baltimore Center Stage.
“Sarah reached out to me following a conversation she had with Professor Michelle Volansky, who directed her to my office because the content of the performance was directly related to the interests and modalities of the Office of Prevention, Education, and Advocacy,” Boyle said.
According to Boyle, the center focuses on promoting healthy choices, healthy relationships, and wellness among students on campus.
The plot of “Wasted” revolves around the interaction between the characters Emma and Oli. After a night of heavy drinking, muddled memories force them to explore the consequences surrounding whether or not the sex they had was consensual.
The performance switches back and forth between not only Emma and Oli’s lives immediately after that night, but also what could occur if law enforcement became involved.
Throughout the performance, factual information about alcohol consumption and the importance of consensual sex is woven into Emma and Oli’s fictional narrative.
“‘Wasted’ creates opportunities for thought-provoking discussions around consensual sex and the lines that can become blurred when substances are involved,” Boyle said.
The performance concluded with a talkback session with the actors, Woods, and Boyle, where the audience had the opportunity to ask questions about the production and its inspiration.
When asked about the decision to perform this content, Woods said that “consent is such a huge issue that never gets spoken about.”
Woods hopes that concluding the performance without a clear indication of what happens afterward will encourage discussion from those in the audience about the implications of their actions.