September 16, 2016

Audience will serve as jury during interactive play

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- An intense courtroom drama will be playing out at Southern Illinois University Carbondale this month and audience members will serve as the jury.

A public presentation of the Todd Logan play, “Defamation,” is set for 6 p.m. on Sept. 23 in the Student Center Ballrooms and everyone is welcome to attend. There is no cost. 

In this interactive presentation, race, religion, class and gender clash when an African-American woman files a civil suit against a Jewish real estate developer alleging defamation. The legal battle centers on whether the plaintiff was falsely accused of stealing the developer’s watch, resulting in financial harm to her.

Discussions and interaction occur between the actors and the audience and at the play’s conclusion, audience members are polled by the “judge,” both before and after deliberations, to determine the outcome of the trial. A question and answer session with the playwright and cast afterward allows those attending to further explore the issues.

Thousands of people across the United States have viewed “Defamation” since it premiered in late 2010. Logan’s goal in writing the play was to encourage “greater tolerance and understanding by spurring self-examination and promoting compelling civil discourse.”

Sponsors for the SIU presentation include New Student Programs, University Honors, Student Affairs, University College and the colleges of Business, Education and Human Services, Science, and Mass Communications and Media Arts.

For more information, contact Nathan Stephens at 618/453-4846 or or Cordy Love at 618/453-1000.