“Ferguson: The Play” Lets Audience Be the Jury

Cortney O'Brien
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Posted: Mar 30, 2015 9:15 AM
“Ferguson: The Play” Lets Audience Be the Jury

The controversy surrounding the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri last year is now going to be depicted onstage. While a grand jury declared Officer Darren Wilson was acting in self-defense when he shot and killed Brown, riots decrying racial injustice ensued not only through the city, but nationwide. Now, for the first time ever, actors will recreate the events of that turbulent night in a verbatim drama, Ferguson: The Play.

The purpose of FERGUSON is to reveal the truth about what really happened on August 9, 2015 in Ferguson, MO and to look at why and how the Grand Jury came to the decision they did. FERGUSON is a staged version of the Grand Jury testimony exactly as they heard it. But this time the audience gets to be the Grand Jury. The performances in Los Angeles will be dramatized staged readings with interactive voting. Every night the audience will decide who's telling the truth, decide who's lying, and decide if they would indict Darren Wilson for the shooting of Michael Brown. How will you vote?

Ferguson is being produced by journalist and filmmaker Phelim McAleer. You may recognize him as the filmmaker behind Gosnell: The Movie, a TV film currently in production which will expose late-term abortionist Kermit Gosnell’s ‘House of Horrors’ abortion clinic. He, along with wife and filmmaker Ann McElhinney and journalist Magdalena Segieda, embarked on the campaign because they were dismayed with the lack of media attention devoted to Gosnell’s evil deeds. Their historic project became the most successful crowd funded movie ever on IndieGoGo.com.

McAleer’s passion to provide audiences with the full story has once again inspired his latest project. Too many times did MSNBC, CNN and the like spin the narrative to suggest Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson aimed his gun at Brown because of his racist prejudices. Lost in these headlines, was the fact that Brown robbed a convenience store right before his encounter with Wilson. McAleer is intent on offering an accurate account of the incident in his new play, one that is not preoccupied with setting an agenda.

“I want to bring the truth about what happened that day to the stage,” says McAleer, a celebrated journalist and filmmaker. “I think audience members will be very surprised, even shocked, when they hear the clear and unaltered truth about the events that took place on Aug. 9, 2014. There are a lot of myths and half-truths circulating about the shooting. FERGUSON is a chance to dispel these once and for all.”

One of those myths was that Michael Brown pleaded, “Hands up, don’t shoot!" before Officer Wilson fired the fatal blow. That turned out to be a flat out lie. In reality, eyewitness accounts report that Brown punched the policeman and tried to grab his firearm.

The incident has left national tension in its wake and therefore this play is already destined to be controversial. Yet, kudos to McAleer for doing the mainstream media’s job and giving audiences the facts, not just “everything that’s fit to print.”

Ferguson will be performed at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles, California from April 26-29. The crowd funding campaign expires May 2.

If the play is successful, McAleer said they may try to bring the play to New York - and even Ferguson itself.