Spectrum Theatre’s upcoming show Never Not Once is a family drama that deals with topics of identity, mental health, sexual assault, gender and sexuality.

The plot follows Eleanor, a college student with two moms as she goes on a hunt to find her biological father using genetics. Her biological mother, Allison, is reluctant while Nadine, her non-biological mother, encourages it.

Photo by Jayna Kurlender / North by Northwestern

The playwright, Carey Crim, received the Jane Chambers Award for feminist playwriting in 2017 for this show, and was a finalist for the 2018 Eugene O’Neill Award.

The show was chosen last spring by producer Sarah Springhorn and director Farrah Sklar after reading through numerous scripts and then approved by Spectrum’s board.

Springhorn, a Communication junior, said she feels the play fits very well into Spectrum’s mission to recognize "the spectrum of beliefs, opinions, colors, creeds, and lifestyles of all people by producing thought provoking and challenging theater.”

“Spectrum was specifically intended to showcase voices beyond the traditional narrative,” Springhorn said, adding that the decision to choose Never Not Once showcases these voices.

Specifically, it takes on the issue of sexual violence among queer women, something that Sklar had never seen before on stage, despite it being a prevalent issue. It was also important to Sklar and Springhorn for the conversation on stage to include the male perspective, unlike many other stage depictions of sexual assault.

Never Not Once is the last show that Sklar, a Communication senior, is directing on campus. She wanted the show to be important and impactful to the Northwestern community in particular. Sklar’s chose put on this play due to her own experiences with sexual assault on Northwestern’s campus.

“Everyone at Northwestern has a relationship to sexual assault,” she said. “So often, we push it under the rug and only examine it when it’s in the national news or there’s a big scandal. We need to be talking about it all the time.”

Photo by Jayna Kurlender / North by Northwestern

The show’s innocuous premise—a girl looking for her birth father—quickly becomes an intense portrayal of difficult topics like rape, alcoholism and homophobia. Family dynamics and issues of trust remain an undercurrent throughout the show.

Although these conversations are often hard to talk about, Sklar said she hopes the play will inspire what she feels are much-needed discussions on campus and allow people to look at issues through a different lens than they would have otherwise.

Never Not Once is running at the Shanley Pavilion on October 31 at 7 p.m., November 1 at 7 p.m. and November 2 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.