Defamation - The Play
A professional African-American woman is invited to the home of a successful Jewish man for a potential business project. After the meeting he realizes that his family heirloom watch is gone.
Hereby hangs the story of DEFAMATION, wherein this very dilemma leads to a riveting courtroom encounter that illuminates our common perceptions about race, religion and class.
In this case, the plaintiff is Ms. Wade, a professional black woman from the South Side. The defendant is Mr. Golden, a successful North Shore businessman who is Jewish. The play opens with Judge Adrian Barnes laying out the case as well as the stakes involved. Following testimony from each side plus a key witness, the judge tells the audience he’s not going to adjudicate the case; the audience will be the jury. He polls them once. Then the judge leads the audience in a 15-20 minute deliberation. He polls the audience a second time. The result decides the evening’s trial.
The case is not a simple “he said, she said.” There are twists and turns that keep the audience on their toes. A case without a smoking gun, DEFAMATION challenges our preconceived notions about race, class, religion and even the law. As audience members and then jurors, we learn as much or more about ourselves as we do the plaintiff and the defendant.