Arts

Unity for Action’s musical takes a light approach to a heavy topic

Photo: Jessica Eritou

e Alumni Auditorium, dancing provocatively to Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines.”

But it’s not what you think.

Unity for Action’s Behind Those Eyes production takes a creative yet effective route to deliver its message about domestic abuse and violence against women.

The storyline is based on a young, freshly married couple: Sophie, played by Ashana Sivalingham, and her overprotective and controlling husband Jason, played by Jon Constable. By escaping through a television set, Sophie can view her abusive relationship in a different way as the gender roles are completely reversed in the TV land she visits. She learns about her relationship with Jason through musical pop hits by changing a few “she”s to “he”s. By switching hetero-normative and gender-normative roles, Unity for Action allows the audience to learn about domestic abuse in an entertaining way they might not have otherwise.

Characters speak through the lyrics of Adele, LMFAO, Imagine Dragons, Nicki Minaj, Coldplay, and more. The audience fills the auditorium with laughter during Girlkon’s version of “Smack That,” bringing focus to the belittling lyrics of the popular hit by swapping the pronouns.

Though the performance featured well-sung musical numbers and crisp dance routines, they often overstayed their entertainment value. The songs certainly could have been cut into shorter excerpts, since the full rendition often ran a few hits too many. It did however give viewers time to think about what these mainstream hits mean in our world, as they challenge how we recognize and think about domestic abuse.