It's a Trial!' is a co-production between Binge
Culture and Barbarian Productions. It's unique performance fusing
courtroom drama with community theatre - a theatrical forum to
discuss social issues.
Staged like a genuine trial and loosely following
real court procedures, the show stages a serious debate but makes
it entertaining, accessible and, we would argue, more effective,
with the assistance of some absurd (but very professional)
characters. Joel Baxendale and Karin McCracken feature as opposing
lawyers and call on real expert witnesses to help win the case, all
under the watchful eye of maverick Judge Jody (Jo Randerson) and
her court taker (Maria Williams). As part of the performance,
audience members are invited to be members of the jury, sketch
artists, or to watch from the public gallery.
We've presented the show twice, at BATS Theatre
and Wellington Museum in 2016 and it was awarded 'Most Original
Production' at the Wellington Theatre Awards that year, but we
think this show has much further to go. We believe this piece of
theatre has the potential to create genuine, useful discussion
about important issues facing communities. The trial format is
inherently theatrical making discussion of difficult issues
entertaining, yet it simultaneously makes the debate more rigorous;
with penetrating cross-examinations, mediation from the judge and
with a jury of peers as the ultimate arbiters.
Ultimately we would like to get the show to a
place where we could respond to issues as they arise, help
communities facilitate debates they need to have, and source all
the expert witnesses that form such a large part of the show from
within the audience.
There's a lot of work to be done to get to that
stage though. The next step is to workshop the show and then
present the it to a new audience. To do this we're teaming up with
the Basement Theatre to bring it to the Auckland Fringe, where
we're specifically targeting the arts community to have a open and
frank debate about whether commercial incentives have any place in
the arts. This development and presentation is an important 'trial'
where we can test and refine the work in a safe context and get
maximum feedback on the work.
Help us with the next stage of development for
this trailblazing show, as we hone the dramaturgy, work the issues,
develop the process, and push this important work to greater
Tēnā rawa atu koe.
Karin, Joel, Jo, Maria and