The Diversity Committee was proud to partner with Caramac Productions to bring Todd Logan’s “Defamation: The Play” to Antioch University Los Angeles campus. The play is designed as an interactive experience in which a courtroom drama unfolds–and makes the audience the jury. Inspired by Logan’s own experience with racial biases, the defamation experience seeks to challenge the audience’s own prejudices through a courtroom scene in which “a South Side African American female business owner sues a wealthy Jewish North Shore real estate developer for defamation.”
After the courtroom proceedings, the audience was given time to deliberate as a jury to decide on siding with either the plaintiff or the defendant. The judge then took the consensus of the jury and gave out the verdict, which lead to the post-discussion portion of the event. The audience talked openly about the topics of the case, including gender, race, and religion. The audience gave their reasoning on why they sided with whom or remained undecided and discussed the rationale of their verdict decision.
“All those attending engaged in serious reflection about the dilemmas posed by class, gender, race, and religious differences,” said Diversity Committee member Rosa Garza-Mourino.”Together we discussed candidly how the divide and stigma displayed within the fictional realm of the stage looked like in our respective real world circumstances.”
The play garnered a lot of support from the community. “After the completion of the two-hour play, and the actors were gone, our community conversation keep going for two more hours,” added Garza-Mourino. “And yet time passed by so quickly!”
Bringing the Defamation play to campus was an extraordinary teamwork experience. Students, staff, faculty and administrators took on various hosting roles, so that the audience could have the best possible experience. It is the hope that this experience serves as one decisive step forward in the process of fostering reflective thinking, and more campus conversation and action on diversity and inclusion.