'Leading Ladies' shed light on domestic violence

Allison Smith, junior theatre performance major and founder of the Leading Ladies performance group, will premiere her latest production on domestic violence on April 16.

Smith’s latest production, “The Experienced,” isn’t a traditional play. The performance consists of monologues, interviews with domestic violence victims, dance, slam poetry and more.

“We are bringing different stories to life that have touched us personally through art performance,” Smith said when discussing her inspiration for “The Experienced.”

“I would hear people tell their stories of their experience and I felt this inner scream that hasn’t stopped and most likely won’t stop until audience members see what this production has to show,” Smith said.

Smith explained two rules that the Leading Ladies must follow for each production: The first rule being that there is a leading role for a female, and the second being that all proceeds go to a cause that mirrors the social critique being presented in the production.

This specific production will benefit the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition (UDVC).

The UDVC is a non-profit organization that provides domestic violence interventions and prevention in the state of Utah. They provide an educational voice of sympathy for all victims of domestic violence in the state.

“We often repress our desire to talk about [domestic violence] because it is one of the most frightening, vulnerable things you will ever do,” said Alex Miller, first-year art administration major and cast member. “I guess this production is a way for me to feel comfortable talking about domestic abuse and highlight that nobody should feel like they can’t talk about it.”

Cast members collectively said that everybody is vulnerable to being a victim and should be educated thoroughly on the subject.

According to Safe Horizon, a non-profit support program for victims of domestic violence, one in four women will experience domestic violence during her lifetime, and men are victims of nearly 3 million physical assaults in the United States.

Smith, the founder of the group, said she has no specific target audience, but that she hopes all walks of life will attend her show.

“There really aren’t any traditional roles in this production,” said Harrison Corthell, first-year technical theatre major and cast member. “Instead, there are vignettes and movement pieces. Every actor is playing a little piece of themselves in this show.”

Leading Ladies and crew have dedicated long, laborious months of preparation to educate the audience and benefit victims of this touchy subject through a completely original work.

“I would best describe the production as a huge theatrical salad bowl,” Corthell said. “There is really no theater-like component left untouched. You’ll just have to see how it all comes together.”

“The Experienced” will premiere on April 16 and 17 at 7:30 p.m. at the Midvale Performing Arts Center. Entry fees are donations only.