Nominated as a 1995 Best New Play by the American Theatre Critics Association, Voir Dire will be presented by Palo Alto's TheatreWorks, Jan. 8-26. Joe Sutton's play follows "the explosive deliberations of a sequestered, racially mixed jury deciding the fate of an African-American educator caught in a questionable police `sting'." Amy Gonzalez directs the production, which will star Amy Resnick, Tanya Shaffer, Janis Bergmann, Ben Cleaveland, Eloise B. Chitmon and Raquel Haro.
The play, which will be staged at Connecticut's Long Wharf Theatre in June, debuted at Seattle Rep in 1995. Rhode Island's Trinity Rep and San Diego's Old Globe both mounted the show in 1996.
The legal term "voir dire" comes from the Old French "to speak the truth" and refers to a preliminary examination to determine a witness' or juror's competency. In the play, which was written pre-O.J. In 1992, a prominent black man is on trial for drug possession. Is it an open-and-shut case -- or was the client framed by a racist police department?
Following each performance of Voir Dire at TheatreWorks, a moderated audience discussion will feature guests from the Bay Area legal and judicial communities.
For tickets($20-$28) and information on Voir Dire, which opens Jan. 11, call (415) 903-6000.
--By David Lefkowitz