by Learrie Barry
The theatrical production “What’s Your Verdict?” by renowned Grenadian Playwright Francis Urias Peters of La Boucan Creative Centre confronts the leading social malaise threatening to become endemic to Grenadian society today.
The production examines 4 conflicts associated with this prevailing national concern:
- Family breakdown: including family violence, murder? self-defence?
- Incest: and child sexual abuse
- Law and justice: and in a dramatic twist, a transient swipe at personal judicial conduct/misconduct?
- Denial: dramatically juxtaposing hope, renewal and solutions
“What’s Your Verdict?” skips sanitisation of incest and child sexual abuse so that it may increase sensitisation of this ongoing national societal concern and offer solutions or options to the population most negatively impacted by child sexual abuse and incest, children under age 18.
“What’s Your Verdict?” confronts and exposes the worse form of denial and cover-up of incest and child sexual abuse that occurs within the home. The production propositions that denial is a major reason why incest and child sexual abuse persist. It therefore dramatises the courage it takes and the courage that can be mustered by victims/survivors and their siblings to confront denial, often their own parent’s/guardian’s denial and the denial of supposedly trusted adults and family friends. With such confrontation, the production adds artillery which when launched will weaken and break the titanium of denial.
“What’s Your Verdict?” evoked emotional, conflictual, discomforting and comforting reactions in audiences during its run at the La Boucan Creative Centre at the GCNA Complex.
In a unique formulation, “What’s Your Verdict?” integrates the audience into the production: the audience serves as the jury. Those who attended the production simply reported for jury duty, no screening, no sequestering.
From my viewing of “What’s Your Verdict?”, I am satisfied that ultimately, the 6 o’clock news, lectures and obituaries do not quite offer what this production offers, in helping address this damning, shaming national problem.
I advocate, as did audiences cum jurors who witnessed the evidence tendered in the trial of “What’s Your Verdict?”, that the production be taken to a couple secondary schools over the coming weeks/months (at least one secondary school per parish). The playwright and crew agree, and will do, if you support the venture.
One ponders how a jury of secondary schoolers will decide. Let us find out.
So What’s Your Verdict? Will you help us? The jury is out.
What’s Your Verdict? by Francis Urias Peters/La Boucan Creative Centre presents a potpourri of familial, societal and institutional breakdown and its attendant difficulties but offers hope, solutions or options to the society.