“Don’t Stand So Close To Me” is among my favorite songs by the Police. The story of a student-teacher scandal is deceptively upbeat and hummable, but addresses the grave issue of inappropriate teacher-student relations. There are two sides to every story, and Timothy R. King gives us one side in Malevolence.
Teacher of the Year nominee Rob Todt (Mitch Irzinksi) is confronted by student Sara (Jane Gibbins-Harding) who is hoping to address her struggling grades. When she asks what she can do, he tells her “there is one thing….”
And so begins the downward spiral of Rob Todt, soon to be accused of Carnal Knowledge of a Child. His once-loving wife, Joanne, (Kimberly Pyle) quickly discards him, his school principal Sherazi (Jacinda Bronaugh) loses faith in him, and Union Representative Upton (Nikki Upton) has already deemed him guilty. His daughter, Kaitlyn (Brittany Morgan), stands by his side, to a point, but Rob is left to fight his battles alone.
by Timothy R. King
at Main Stage – Goethe Institut
812 7th Street NW
Washington, DC 20001
Details and tickets
Brittany Morgan’s performance of Rob’s sassy daughter is refreshing, adding levity to the ominous tone, while Mitch Irzink’is’s highest-octane moments of a man at his edge are affecting.
An important and highly politicized issue, student-teacher relation tragedies ruin lives. Malvolence’s point may be that is not the public’s duty to be God, Judge, and Jury in these instances, but the piece would do well to give its audience more of an honest leg to stand on from the beginning of the piece, and let them wonder at the accusation instead of being accused. Many women in the piece express disgust with Rob, though we never learn who they are. One man’s life is on trial, but the other lives wrapped up in his are important.
Malevolence is digging into what fuels high school rumor mills. Power dynamics. Rumors. Lies.