Last night FERGUSON – THE PLAY opened to controversy. Days before the opening five actors walked off because they objected to the play not supporting the “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” narrative. The next day three more actors walked. The trouble is, this play is taken, directly, from the Michael Brown/Darren Wilson Grand Jury transcripts. Mike Brown never had his hands up, nor did he ever say, “Don’t shoot”.
FERGUSON – THE PLAY is an example of “verbatim theater”. All of the dialogue is verbatim what witnesses testified. Documentarian, journalist, Phelim McAleer condensed 25 days of testimony from the Grand Jury into an hour and 45 minute play.
Some of the actors who walked off did so because they believed the play was one sided and didn’t paint Michael Brown in a favorable enough light, even though the play opens with a Michael Brown friend talking about what a good friend he was, how helpful and generous he was. Many point to the numerous witnesses who testified Big Mike had his hands up, but what they fail to take into consideration is that each of those witnesses were discredited because their testimony didn’t match the forensic evidence. This was demonstrated by a scene in the play were an FBI agent questions one of them. The witness, a close friend of Brown’s, testified that he saw Mike shot in the head and then saw Wilson stand over him and shoot him 4 or 5 times in the back. The problem is Brown was never shot in the back.
Several other actors left because McAleer is a Conservative who produced the documentaries, “FrackNation” and “Not Evil, Just Wrong”, that skewer many of the Left’s anti-Fracking, Climate Change claims. I doubt very much the actors saw either documentary but they were fearful of being associated with a Conservative that fights Liberalism with facts.
McAleer did a masterful job of presenting enough representative testimony from both the witnesses whose testimony agreed with Officer Wilson’s account and the forensic evidence, and from witnesses whose testimony wasn’t supported by forensic evidence or other witnesses. Remember, this case wasn’t investigated by just the local police department but also by the FBI and the DOJ.
As I’m writing this, a talk show host on the radio is mentioning the false narrative of Hands Up, Don’t shoot, only to have a Liberal commentator say there were numerous witnesses who said he had his hands up. True, but those witnesses were discredited when their testimony didn’t match the forensic evidence. If it had, the DOJ wouldn’t have exonerated Wilson. I doubt we’ve ever had a DOJ who was more desirous of finding a way to charge Wilson, but they couldn’t.
I thought I knew quite a bit about facts of the Brown/Wilson case but I learned several things I was surprised by and I thought were very powerful. One was that two shots were fired from inside the police car, not one. And that Wilson had tried to shoot several times more but the gun didn’t go off.
But most powerful was the testimony of a young woman who clearly didn’t want to testify. She was anti police and said so. She was asked about a tattoo, which she declined to show or describe, but, apparently, it said, “Black Power”. She didn’t want to be there but she possessed the integrity to tell what she saw. She and her mother were in a van on the street and had a clear view of all that happened. She described Michael Brown as charging at the officer like a football linebacker. She said the officer kept yelling for him to stop and get on the ground. Brown didn’t stop, nor did he have his hands up. But the most compelling thing she described, in my opinion, was that Officer Wilson was backing up as Brown charged him. I had never heard that before. She said if Wilson hadn’t shot him, Brown would have tackled the officer against his car.
There was a sold out audience that included Dennis Prager and numerous members of the press. The audience gave the actors a lengthy applause. I think if they had come out for a curtain call they would have received a standing ovation. They deserved it. One of the actors said they were surprised by the applause. They didn’t know what to expect.
All the actors did a remarkable job, especially considering most had almost no rehearsal time. I commend each of them for their courage and willingness to tackle a controversial subject.
Kudos to all involved. It was a eye opening evening.