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By Kathy Carpenter

Associate Reviewer

Freelance Writer Splash Magazine


November 2, 2017 (Spring Valley) - Powerful. That's the word that comes to mind when you see Kiss the Girls and Make Them Cry at Monte Vista Monarch Theatre. Over a hundred seats were sold out for this show. Ms. Benitez says musicals usually fill the seats, but not the more serious shows. The seats were filled mostly with peers and that's a good thing, especially for the material in this production. Every student in middle and high school, along with parents, should watch this one.

From the director's notes:  every 98 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted. Girls between 16 and 19 are the highest risk.

Not many women left the audience dry-eyed. I escaped probably due to the fact I wasn't a student or parent. The play definitely affected me. I immediately wanted to write this. Kiss the Girls and Make Them Cry, written by Arlene Hutton and brought to our attention by Ms. Benitez, brings awareness to important existing issues. Watching this cast of 18 students go through sexual harassment, peer pressure, sexual assault, being drugged and raped and other issues high school students are facing every day, gave us an immediacy into the problems. Something about seeing them live made the problems more real. I even identified with one of the issues from my more innocent high school days.

The play addresses the issues out there, but does not solve them. We need to become aware and come together to make the world a better place.

I usually pick a few of the students to write about that impressed me in some way. But it this one all the students were so amazing. This was tough for them, to put themselves into characters being hurt like that by one another. They learned from this one, and Ms. B, as they call her, lessons that will last a lifetime.

I hope the realism these students brought to the roles let others teen know they do not stand alone in how they feel about the events transpiring in their lives. It's okay to say what they really want to say. To find someone to hear them. If they change even one life - they are heard.I know everyone that sees the show will be touched, and together perhaps we can start to make a difference.

In April, the Monarchs will be doing something more fun:  Grease, if you prefer musicals.


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