We’re gearing up for our next show, Natural Shocks, November 10-20 at Fonseca Theatre! (Tickets are available here.) If you’d like to have a peek into the issues surrounding the show, artistic director Marcia Eppich-Harris provides some insights below! There aren’t a bunch of spoilers, but if you’re spoiler-allergic, you can always read this after the show, too.
This season, Southbank takes on issues at the heart of the political landscape for women and society’s most vulnerable. What’s in store with Natural Shocks?
The Personal Is Political
Natural Shocks reveals the interior conversation an abuse victim repeatedly has with society, and frankly, it’s time for real talk. In this performance, we meet Angela – a self-proclaimed liar and cheater. But far from being morally objectionable, Lauren Gunderson’s protagonist is a symbolic everywoman – a representative of abused intimate partners.
What do we know about Angela?
Victims of domestic violence often do not have an inner circle. Their abusers’ tactics include isolation, cutting off escape routes, and Angela is no different. She lives her life in an attempt to fulfill society’s demands of her – she must stay on brand, never complain, always be positive, and reserve her vulnerability for an imaginary audience – us.
Because she’s estranged from her mother, Angela throws herself dutifully into work. In the meantime, she survives day by day only through denial, lies, and fantasy. Likening herself to Hamlet, Shakespeare’s famously inactive protagonist, Angela concurs with the assessment that we’d “rather bear those ills we have than fly to others that we know not of.” “That sums up humanity pretty well I think,” she says. “We’re just scared shitless. All the time. I am.” Having no inner circle to rely on, no one to confide in, the only circle in Angela’s life is the whirlwind we hear above her – the destructive force of her tornadic husband.
Domestic Violence and Guns
One victim is one too many. However, the violence within intimate partner abuse also spills into our gun-obsessed culture in devastating ways. In the journal Injury Epidemiology, Lisa B.Geller, et al., reported that “59.1% of mass shootings between 2014 and 2019 were DV (domestic violence)-related and in 68.2% of mass shootings, the perpetrator either killed at least one partner or family member or had a history of DV.”
Meanwhile, our society has shrugged helplessly – and sometimes apathetically – at the permanency of gun violence, domestic violence, and the oppression of women. We need to acknowledge that these things don’t just happen to other people. They happen to us. And we are complicit. Natural Shocks begs the question: If we won’t act to protect society’s most vulnerable, why won’t we even attempt to save ourselves? To act or not to act is not the question. It’s time to expose the tactics that allow abusers to maintain control and reclaim the power to fulfill our own destinies.
If you or someone you know are not safe in your relationship, there is help available. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is available 24/7 for help. Local resources in Indianapolis include:
- The Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence at 1915 West 18th Street, Suite B, (317) 917-3685
- The Julian Center at 2011 N Meridian Street, (317) 920-9320
- Coburn Place at 604 E. 38th Street, (317) 923-5750
Additionally, if you are suffering from depression or suicidal ideation, the new National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 988, and they take calls 24/7.
Tickets for Natural Shocks are available now! Buy now!
 Lisa B. Geller, Marisa Booty, and Cassandra K. Crifasi, “The role of domestic violence in fatal mass shootings in the United States, 2014–2019,” Injury Epidemiology 8, 38 (2021).