On November 8, Nantucket High School students had the pleasure to watch a very unique play, “The Yellow Dress”. “The Yellow Dress” is a one-woman show performed in front of high school students around the United States. The show is based on stories of young women who were the victims of domestic abuse. “The Yellow Dress” is produced by a non-profit organization called Deana’s Educational Theater which was founded by the family of a victim of dating violence, Deana Brisbois. Deana was killed by her abusive boyfriend and her parents’ one wish was to educate people of all ages about the warning signs and dangers of domestic violence. The show ultimately aims to inspire victims and witnesses of domestic abuse to speak out.

In the play, the audience is exposed to an abusive relationship through the eyes of the victim, Anna. As Anna is sharing her story with the audience, it unknown that she was killed by her boyfriend until the very end of the show. The story begins with Anna speaking of how kind, sweet, and protective her new boyfriend is. As the story progresses, it becomes obvious to the audience that the relationship is very unhealthy when Anna receives constant obsessive calls from her boyfriend. These calls soon turn into threats and the once kind boyfriend begins insulting Anna and verbally abusing her. Anna believes that her boyfriend is still the caring person she thought he is, and does not realize how dangerous her situation is. Eventually, her parents discover what is happening and try to prevent Anna from seeing him. As the relationship grows more and more toxic, Anna does not recognize how unsafe she is. By the time she realizes, it is too late. She is terrified of what would happen if she were to attempt to end the relationship, so she puts it off. Due to this, she is stuck in a interminable relationship with a young man who continues to become increasingly aggressive. Finally, she finds the strength to break up with her boyfriend, but she is never safe from him. He begs her to take him back and she refuses. Unfortunately, Anna’s answer fuels the fire in the young man’s eye and his aggression he takes her life.

The effects of dating violence can ruin a person’s life. Anyone can be a victim, whether they are male, female, gay, or straight but not everyone has the time to find the courage to save themselves. Like Anna, not all victims realize the severity of their situation, or do not want to believe that their partner is abusive until it is too late. According to National Statistics, an average of 20 people per minute are physically abused by their partners in the United States. Similarly, 1 out of 4 women and 1 out of 9 men are the victims of extreme relationship violence. As high school students in a small town, we are very lucky to have been given the opportunity to watch and experience this dramatic and educational production.

Freshman Lilly Richard, reflecting on the production, said, “I thought ‘The Yellow Dress’ was an important play to watch. It is effective in helping other victims that have gone through the same thing, to show them it’s not something to be embarrassed about and that they do not have to be afraid to tell a parent or trusted adult.”

Caroline Harding, a sophomore, offered a mixed reaction: “I think ‘The Yellow Dress’ play was a great way to send a message to the audience about abuse in relationships. It was effective in the sense that it got the dangers of abuse across to the audience well, but I don’t think that it will change a lot of what is going on, abuse wise.”

Celia Almodobar, a junior, responded to this question saying, “It was more enjoyable and informative than I expected. I think that ‘The Yellow Dress’ brought attention to a topic that some people didn’t even know existed on the island.”

When Anna Steadman, a senior, gave her opinion on “The Yellow Dress”, she said, “I think it was really interesting to see someone come on stage and really be passionate about the issue demonstrated in this play as well. I feel like often, students don’t get to see these real-life issues and it’s really nice to see the school make an attempt in providing us with scenarios in the ‘real world’. I do think, however, that kind of example doesn’t really help most individuals, and I think the school could benefit in asking teachers and students for suggestions on assemblies.”

“The Yellow Dress” was an eye-opening experience for the students of Nantucket High School and offered a more realistic view of domestic violence than could be achieved in the classroom setting.

 

By Reese Burns

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