ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) – A play based on the case of two Steubenville, Ohio, high school football players convicted of raping a 16-year-old girl is debuting at the University of Michigan.

Naomi Iizuka’s “Good Kids” is the first commissioned work for the Big Ten Theatre Consortium’s New Play Initiative. Directed by assistant theatre professor Gillian Eaton, the drama explores the aftermath of a sexual assault and its cover-up among students at a Midwest high school.

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“It would be a great time to use theater to create social dialogue,” Eaton told The Ann Arbor News.

“Good Kids” premieres Thursday and runs through Sunday before showing again Oct. 9-12 in the Arthur Miller Theatre in Ann Arbor.

The play is running in conjunction with a school-led sexual assault prevention campaign called “Expect Respect: Flip the Script.” Post-performance guided discussions, role-playing exercises and expert lectures are some of the tools that will be used to generate awareness and conversations.

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“I do think it can change minds sometimes,” Eaton said of theater performances. “Just exposing assumptions and asking questions that aren’t being asked enough can change a person’s mindset.”

The U.S. Education Department this year revealed a list of dozens of colleges under investigation for the way they handle sexual abuse allegations. The University of Michigan and Michigan State University were among them.
The probe involves University of Michigan’s handling of a reported 2009 violation of its sexual misconduct policy by a former football player.

Last month, the University of Michigan said its Central Student Government was working with a White House campaign to help fight campus sexual assault. Michigan State University also has joined the campaign, saying it complements the East Lansing school’s efforts.

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