A Courtroom Drama Where the Audience is the Jury

Kimm Beavers, Richard Shavzin and Stacie Doublin in a scene from "Defamation"
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Courtroom dramas have long entertained audiences, but onstage at Baldwin Wallace University tonight is a production where the audience becomes the jury.

"The Defamation Experience" centers on an African-American business owner who sues a white developer for defamation, after he accuses her of stealing a family heirloom.

Chicago-based managing producer Kimm Beavers has starred in the show which tours nationally. 

While she will not act in tonight's production, Beavers will lead the post-show discussion.

Kimm Beavers leads post-show discussion at Pingree School, MA

"The Defamation Experience," which has been staged at various locations in Northeast Ohio, includes post-show deliberations and discussions.

During this post-show program audience members are forced to question their own racial biases and that's where the real drama takes place.

A post-show discussion at Case Western Reserve University

"Sometimes it's not a very easy thing to do to really honestly evaluate how you feel, how you think.  Because [there] may be some hard truths that you don't really want to admit," Beavers said.

"The Defamation Experience" has been popular at law schools and university campuses, and Beavers thinks increasing racial tensions are adding new meaning to the show.

A post-show discussion at Ithaca College, NY

"Now people are finding that the climate is so tense sometimes they feel they need to engage in critical dialogue," she said.

Beavers credits those organizations that decide to bring the production to their venue.

"They are creating a safe space for people to explore and to experience some transparent moments about themselves and with other people," she said.

"The Defamation Experience" is onstage at Baldwin Wallace University tonight at 7pm


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