Phelim McAleer, the fearless filmmaker who has previously exposed the extremes of the anti-fracking industry via his documentary "FrackNation," and is currently working on “Gosnell: The Movie” to raise awareness about the horrors of late-term abortion, is now stepping into live theater territory. "Ferguson: The Play" is a verbatim drama that will present a factual presentation of the shooting death of Michael Brown last year in Ferguson, Missouri, with actors reading straight from the trial testimony. The Ferguson grand jury decided not to bring charges against Officer Darren Wilson after evidence suggested he shot Brown in self defense. The Department of Justice review of the shooting backed this up as well. Although the play is going to present the details of the case sans editorializing or bias, some in the media are already claiming McAleer's play will only stir racial tension, such as mic.com's Kevin O'Keeffe.
According to O'Keeffe, a former writer at The Atlantic and The Advocate, there is “nothing to be gained” by staging a play that features verbatim eyewitness accounts of the controversial shooting of black teenager Michael Brown by white officer Darren Wilson and will re-enact the actual shooting on stage. He described FERGUSON as a “danger” that “feels like a powder keg ready to reignite racial tensions” and an “incredibly frustrating provocation of the past.”
McAleer was disappointed in the unfair reaction.
“This is a call for a ‘hecklers veto’ on the arts — or, in this case, a ‘rioters’ veto,” he said. “I will not be shut down or censored by people threatening violence. If people don't like to hear the truth, then it’s not my fault if they react with violence.”
“This is what theater should be all about. It’s why I wrote the play — to ask provocative questions,” he stated. “I want to take FERGUSON on the road so that everyone can hear the truth.”
The early media backlash may stem from frustration, since McAleer's play doesn't allow them to set the agenda. Instead of picking certain parts of the case to highlight for their audience, "Ferguson" will simply offer all the details of the night in question. I'll add it's also ironic that the media is concerned McAleer's play will 'reignite racial tension,' when they're the ones who the lit the fire in the first place. Their obsession with the story can be partly to blame for the violent protests and looting in Ferguson, which left some small business owners without businesses.
That's why a play like McAleer's is needed in our agenda setting cutlure. Perhaps most intimidating of all for the liberal media, "Ferguson: The Play" will allow the audience to decide whether Officer Wilson is innocent or guilty. The IndieGoGo funding page shows McAleer is a little more than halfway to his goal. To help him provide the full Ferguson story, go here to donate.