The Interference is a grimly realistic take on rape culture, with a strong survivor weathering the storm around her. The student actors from Pepperdine University depict the fallout from the rape of an unconscious female student by a star football player at a college party. Lynda Radley’s writing could at times be lifted verbatim from the conversation and debate that arises around such high profile sexual assault cases.
The young ensemble cast effectively convey the clamour of social media, at best positive and supportive, at worst poisonous and misogynistic. The language and rhetoric used when the accused are high-achieving athletes in high school and university teams is bizarrely at odds with the crimes they have committed. The coaches, team-mates, fans, commentators, and even the police rally around the accused student in The Interference protecting his future; without considering the impact of the events on Karen, the student now traumatised by being raped by someone she considered a friend.
The plot of The Interference is frighteningly close to the bone when compared to high-profile sexual assaults and rapes that recently occurred in Steubenville and Stanford. The events depicted in this piece are disturbing and chilling to watch. The voice of the survivor is automatically doubted while the athletes are protected and pitied due to their previous achievements.
Ending abruptly with the feeling that nothing has yet been resolved and the evidence that has emerged is only the tip of the iceberg, the reality of such investigations being dragged out for years is high-lighted. The importance of consent and the need for education and awareness raising around the issues of sexual assault and consent is made ever clearer. The young cast of The Interference show good potential and work comfortably and ably together in a piece shouting loud about a need for change in the perception and procedure of sexual assault cases.
For anyone affected by the themes discussed in The Interference or in this review, The Rosey Project are a Glasgow-based organisation who provide support to young people who have experience any kind of sexual abuse or violence.