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Heather Marlowe to perform one-woman show “The HAZE” on experience as a rape survivor

Heather Marlowe has performed her show “The HAZE” at more than 20 other colleges before bringing the show to Grinnell this Friday. Photo contributed

Hallela Hinton-Williams

“The HAZE,” a one-woman show performed by Heather Marlowe about the aftermath of her rape and her interaction with the police, will be performed at Grinnell in Sebring Lewis Hall this Friday, Sept. 29 at 7:30 p.m. “The Haze” is a performance of humor, sadness and outrage in response to the systematic re-victimization of abuse victims in the legal system.

The motivation behind the piece came from a need to draw attention to Marlowe’s case after she was dismissed by the police.

“I felt that it was necessary to be public about this, and the skillset that I had in terms of being public was in theater and performance, because I had been studying it at the time,” Marlowe said.

Marlowe’s show is a piece of performance art that informs and questions audiences. The myriad of emotions that an audience member experiences allows for a deeper connection, beyond the politics of the situation.

“My first goal was to impact my audience, not on an educational level, but a visceral level. My audience should be provoked in ways that might be uncomfortable,” Marlowe said. “I want them to feel a range of emotions and challenge themselves about their own ignorance and complacency in this issue. I want to create a dynamic piece of art in the hour you have with me on stage.”

Marlowe has been touring her show since 2015 on college campuses. It allows her to connect her experience with the ones seen all over the nation on these campuses.

“While I was working in a more activist role in my case, it occurred to me there is a whole movement of rape cases being ignored. There are a lot of barriers of getting any sort of process on campuses,” she said. “There were a lot of parallels between my experience and how rape often manifests itself in college culture.”

By visiting college campuses where sexual assault is a major issue, Marlowe is able to meet a large group of people who have been victimized by either the legal system or the college administration.

“The reactions on college campuses have been overwhelmingly supportive, in terms of students who have either experienced interpersonal sexual encounters, or domestic violence. There is a comradery, I suppose, in the feedback I get,” Marlowe said. “That is also coupled with outrage and education in the issue of law enforcement mishandling and ignoring rape complaints. It’s a combination of supportiveness and ‘thank you so much for educating me’ that goes on.”

Marlowe sought to develop a well-crafted play that made the audience reflect upon themselves and connect with her on stage; however, the play quickly became an effective avenue to educate and motivate a population on an issue that is deceptively political.

“When I first started out, I wanted to get attention to my case and find out more information. I had no idea how political this issue is,” Marlowe said. “There are so many politics — I have become sort of overwhelmed with all of it. I would encourage people to come, if at all possible, with a mindset that is not political. I want people to come because it is a captivating compelling story that connects on a deeper level to our collective humanity. It’s why I do it over and over again — to connect with the audience.”

Marlowe’s performance is a personal expression of her experience. Beyond that, however it is also a startling reflection of the experiences of thousands of other people.

Heather Marlowe has performed her show “The HAZE” at more than 20 other colleges before bringing the show to Grinnell this Friday.
Photo contributed
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