IF YOU GO
What: Dark drama about three women who turn the tables on a would-be rapist
When: 8 p.m. Nov. 2-17; 2 p.m. matinées on Sunday Nov. 11 & 18
Where: Kiwanis Hall, 1634 Woodford Avenue, downtown Fort Myers
Information: 239-218-0481 or laboratorytheaterflorida.com
Something Else: Play is 90 minutes, no intermission; contains violent sexual content and adult language
FORT MYERS — What would you do?
… if you were a woman able to overpower your would-be rapist?
Would you kill him? Would you call the police? Would anyone believe you if you didn't have a scratch?
The Laboratory Theater of Florida asks these questions in "Extremities."
Discover the answers, starting Friday.
"Marjorie is gritty, raw, a touch of crazy and downright ugly at times," actress Tera Nicole Miller said of her character. "I wanted to play this role to give our audiences something they could really sink their teeth into. I want them to feel her pain, fear, guilt, shame & crazed confusion."
Marjorie wakes up, makes tea, gets stung by a wasp and comes face-to-face with Raul. Raul (played by Timothy Gunderman) does not have Marjorie's best intentions at heart. Raul intends to savage Marjorie, then her roommates. Through the narrowest of escapes, Marjorie turns the tables on Raul and gains the upper hand. Tiffany Allen Campbell and Angel Duncan round out the cast
"Extremities" draws its power from setting four characters against each other in the ugliest of situations. Three women have a man - a very unpleasant man - bound and gagged in their living room. Yet, he hasn't physically harmed any of them. Yet. They have injured him.
What would you do?
Kill him? Bury him? Call the cops? Turn him loose? Will he return? Has he done this before? Will he do it again Did some invite the attack? Why our house?
What would you do?
"'Extremities' is a deep show, with strong, almost depressing, content that makes people look at the uglier sides of emotion and feelings," Miller said. "The more I read the script and old interviews and articles, I felt compelled to take on the role."
The part has been anything but easy for Miller.
"This has got to be the most demanding material I have ever worked on," Miller said. "From the horrible things that happen, to the cruel things that are said, to the terrifying emotions I’m conjuring, it has the potential to really mess with your mind."
Longtime Fort Myers actress Stephanie Davis makes her directorial debut with "Extremities." Davis said she had always been "fascinated" with the show.
“When Marjorie, the victim, turns the tables on her would-be rapist, lines between good and evil begin to blur," Davis said. "The audience is taken on a thought-provoking, often terrifying ride that’s full of surprises.”
Davis convinced Greg Longenhagen, her former colleague at Florida Repertory Theatre as well as an actor and professional fight choreographer, to contribute his expertise for the show's graphic combat scenes.
The show opens with a terrifying, hair-raising struggle. After that, Gunderman spends time locked in an on-stage fireplace - with Marjorie threatening him with a hammer. At one point, she douses him with "gas" and threatens to set him on fire. Wasp spray makes an appearance, as does a shovel.
“There’s quite a bit of extreme violence and use of weaponry in 'Extremities,'" Davis said.
The cast has had to learn to combat the dark material, even as they find themselves immersed in the show day after day.
"You throw in being physically beaten and bruised up every night and you’ve got a recipe for a lot of sleepless nights," Miller admits, "but this team makes it work."
"It's taking me a while to get there emotionally," Tiffany Allen Campbell, who plays Patricia, said. "Once a character is set in your head and you stop second guessing, it sorta just sticks. My everyday life is full of happiness, so I only have to be in that space but for a little while."
Miller likes to go for late-night ice cream binges to unwind, but also takes a more zen approach to the entire show.
"The experience can difficult and painful at times," the actress mused, "but you get through it because you know the end result will be something so beautiful and gratifying."
As for what she would do if faced with the same situation as her character, Miller didn't have a pat response.
"If I been asked that question before working on this show, I would’ve had a very simple answer," she said. "Now, I’m not so sure…"
Campbell didn't equivocate though. She knew what she would do.
"Kick his *** a little, then call the police!"
"Extremities" runs Nov. 2-18 at the Laboratory Theater of Florida, located at 1634 Woodford Avenue in downtown Fort Myers. Tickets are $20. Call (239) 218-0481 or online at laboratorytheaterflorida.com.