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Lolita Play

November 10th- 12th

Cherries. Bows. Lace. Lollipops. Heart-shaped glasses. These images, taken together, mean...something. At the end of a college honors seminar on tragedy, Greek and modern, 22-year-old Mara presents to the class on what is, to her, the great American tragedy of the past century: Nabokov’s 1958 novel Lolita, its role in the development of these “coquette” symbols, and the cultural massacre on girlhood that has plagued entire generations since its release. Meanwhile, worlds away, 16-year-old Cecilia has given her new beau Gabriel a gift: a paperback edition of the very same book, wrapped in a bright red ribbon, with a note in the front cover, — “read it and you just might get it.” When Gabriel begins to study the seminal text, he confronts sordid truths, harrowingly incarnated through Cecilia’s muddy modes of reconciling her fraught relationship with sex, femininity and reality. As Mara warns us of Lolita’s cascading consequences and Cecilia bears their weight, Mara’s classmates are full of questions, genuine and baiting alike. By the time we confront our cherries, bows, lace, lollipops and heart-shaped glasses face-to-face, one hopes that despite all propriety, we “just might get it.” Lolita Play is a probing examination of 21st-century girlhood— what makes it beautiful, what makes it dangerous, and what makes it unbearable.* 

*Content warning: this play contains material concerning sexual assault, child sex abuse and pedophilia, masochism, gender dysphoria, eating disorders and suicidal ideation.

Creative Team


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