Ferguson Shooting Play Forges Ahead Despite Controversy and Cast Walkouts

News   Ferguson Shooting Play Forges Ahead Despite Controversy and Cast Walkouts
 
Despite igniting controversy and a last-minute walkout by five of the cast members, Odyssey Theatre's Theatre Verité production of Ferguson forges ahead April 26. The play chronicles the shooting of Michael Brown by a Missouri police offer and uses actual Grand Jury testimony recorded from the controversial case.

Phelim McAleer
Phelim McAleer

Writer and creator Phelim McAleer published a statement on his Indigogo funding page that said the actors had abandoned the production April 23 due to his "conservative politics." Performances are still set to run through April 29 at the Odyssey.

"I'm going to be honest. The cast leaving is a crisis. It's tough and stressful, and I had a two hour meeting with the remaining cast members last night--as others were threatening to leave," said McAleer in his online statement. "I don't know how many more walkouts there will be."

The play is arranged by journalist and documentary filmmaker McAleer, who has called Ferguson "the most important" project he's ever done. "I have an opportunity to bring to the stage the truth about what happened in Ferguson, Missouri the morning police officer Darren Wilson shot dead Michael Brown," says McAleer. "The truth is full of shocks and surprises, but it is unbelievably compelling."

On Aug. 9, 2014, Brown, a young unarmed black man, was shot dead by white officer Wilson. A Grand Jury made the decision not to indict Wilson, spurring protests around the country and making international headlines.

In Ferguson, a cast of 15 reads the actual testimony and witness interviews heard by the Ferguson, MO, Grand Jury that declined to indict local police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting of Michael Brown. Following each staged reading, "interactive voting" is used to decide whether or not to indict Wilson. Members of the audience read the transcripts, and then serve as the jury in the performance. McAleer, who states that as a journalist he is "only interested in what really happened," has drawn from the verbatim theatre movement, which uses exact testimony from public enquiries or court cases.

The Odyssey Theatre is located at 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd, Los Angeles. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit fergusontheplay.com.

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