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THE DEFAMATION EXPERIENCE
Deborah Johnson shares her experiences booking DEFAMATION
at RWU Law.
Diversity and "Defamation"
Posted by Deborah Johnson on 12/04/15
“The National Center for Race Amity featured Defamation as one of its key conference sessions at the 2014 National Race Amity Conference. THE PLAY WAS EXTRAORDINARY AND CREATED AN ACTIVE DIALOGUE that is continuing over weeks and weeks after the performance. I commend Defamation as AN EFFECTIVE RESOURCE TO CREATE DIALOGUE TO BRIDGE THE RACIAL DIVIDE.”
William H. "Smitty" Smith, Ed. D., Founding Executive Director, National Center for Race Amity
“Thank you so much for bringing Defamation to Dover Sherborn. It was an amazing experience for students, teachers, administrators and community members. THE CONTENT OF THE PLAY SPARKED MANY RICH AND DIFFICULT CONVERSATIONS WITHIN OUR CLASSROOMS. STUDENTS AND TEACHERS WERE EMOTIONALLY MOVED AS THEY REFLECTED ON THEIR PERSONAL EXPERIENCES WITH RACE, CLASS AND RELIGION. Thank you for the professionalism your team displayed from the booking to the performance. You are greatly appreciated.”
Monique Marshall Veale, METCO Coordinator, Dover Sherborn Public Schools
“We were thrilled with the performance. We were privileged and immensely gratified to offer Defamation as one of our inaugural events. The play was outstanding! Well written, well-acted, thought provoking and challenging. THE PERFORMANCE RAISED ISSUES IN A CLEAR AND AUTHENTIC WAY and, according to many of our attendees from our member schools, created an excellent jumping off point for discussions with their students about race, gender, religion, etc."
Jennifer Braxton, Director of Professional Development, Association of Delaware Valley (PA, NJ, DE & MD) Independent Schools
“DEFAMATION WENT FAR BEYOND MY EXPECTATIONS OF INFORMATION AND INSPIRATION FOR MY STUDENTS. The play is riveting, engaging, thought-provoking and moving. We ask our students to use their powers of reason and critical thinking in matter of equity and justice. This play filled the bill. The students at The Roeper School were talking about this play for several days after. WE ARE THINKING OF BRINGING DEFAMATION BACK FOR OUR WHOLE SCHOOL COMMUNITY.”
Carolyn Lett, Financial Aid and Scholarship Coordinator, Diversity and Community Programs Coordinator, The Roeper School
“More than a court case, DEFAMATION DEMONSTRATES THE COMPLEXITY OF OUR LIVED EXPERIENCES WHEN IT COMES TO RACE, GENDER, RELIGION AND SOCIOECONOMIC STATUS since they meld, intersect and shape the multidimensional spaces we inhabit. STUDENTS AND COMMUNITY MEMBERS WERE COMPELLED TO GRAPPLE WITH BOTH EMOTIONAL AND RATIONAL RESPONSES - learning about self and others in the dialogue. The conversation continued in the classroom and on social media. We return to the themes of the play as they ripple through our thoughts and our lives.”
Claudia Guzman and Warren Scherer, Inclusive Excellence Center, University of Milwaukee - Wisconsin
“Our students simply could not wait to see Defamation. They enjoyed the experience so much that it is still the topic of conversation one week later. Thank you so much for bringing the play and its message to our campus. WE ARE CONSTANTLY SEARCHING FOR WAYS TO ELICIT DIALOGUE AROUND RACE, RELIGION, GENDER AND CLASS. DEFAMATION DID JUST THAT!”
Caleb Collins, Director of Community & Diversity, Belmont Hill School, Belmont, MA
“Defamation was such a wonderful experience. This program was ONE OF THE BEST WAYS I HAVE FOUND TO TALK ABOUT OUR DIFFERENCES in a way that invites everyone to the table and gives them the confidence they need to add their voice to the conversation.”
Ke'Ana A. Bradley, Assistant Director, Multicultural Student Programs and Services, Notre Dame University
“Defamation was a great show at Concord Academy, and I would strongly recommend them as a way to start important conversations about creating an aware and inclusive community at your school. The production itself is remarkably small and nimble—set up and space required are minimal, which makes it a very easy production to host—and the cast is incredibly talented. The play is well written and ENGAGES SO MANY DIFFERENT QUESTIONS THAT ARE AT THE CORE OF SOCIAL JUSTICE, PRIVILEGE AND PREJUDICE, and the actors bring this production to life and make it matter. As the case unfolds, OUR STUDENTS LEANED IN AND PAID MORE AND MORE ATTENTION, despite having already attended a full day of school; and when the performance ended, they lined up to offer comments and thoughts about what they had seen. They were incredibly engaged and they were talking about the play for days afterwards. This is a terrific production, and I recommend them highly.”
Ayres Stiles-Hall, Assistant Dean for Community & Equity, Concord Academy, Concord, MA
“Defamation was honestly the best event I ever booked!”
Ashley M. Taylor, Specialist for Educational Programming, Diversity Advocacy, Dean of Students Office, Illinois State University
“A brilliant, shifting jigsaw puzzle of a courtroom drama. Todd Logan’s DEFAMATION HOLDS THE AUDIENCE’S OWN PREJUDICES AND ASSUMPTIONS UNDER A POWERFUL LENS, AND DOES NOT LET US GO except by way of an unsettling self-examination. No one escapes the jury’s deliberations unchanged.”
Rabbi Debra Kassoff, Jackson, Ms.
“Whether we find for the plaintiff or the defendant, THE PLAY COMPELS US TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE POWER OF WHITE PRIVILEGE AND INFLUENCE, and the consequences of well-intentioned colorblindness. The exceptional performances of the actors had everyone in the audience on the edge of their seats.”
Betsy Huang, Chief Officer of Diversity and Inclusion, Associate Professor of English, Clark University
“Defamation engaged every person in the audience as time flew by and we entered the worlds of each of the characters. IT POSED MANY AND NUANCED ISSUES AND QUESTIONS. Just when you think you are clear about "who done it," someone introduces a different angle and you are thrown off kilter AGAIN. THIS IS A PLAY THAT BRINGS THE AUDIENCE INTO DIRECT REFLECTION AND DIALOGUE WITH SOME OF THE MOST PRESSING PERSONAL AND COLLECTIVE ISSUES OF OUR TIME: power, privilege, race, religion and class.”
Bill Beardslee, Associate Director, Student Involvement and Spiritual Life, Franklin Pierce University
“Defamation is an honest and engaging courtroom drama that elicits critical thinking and emotion. Issues of power and privilege muddy the waters as the audience watches it all unfold, deliberates on the different pieces of the legal puzzle and eventually renders a verdict. A MONTH LATER, THE IMPACT AND CONVERSATION STILL LINGER.”
Kitty Hooper, Diversity Coordinator, Erin Luby, Assistant Principal – Student Services, St. Ignatius College Prep, Chicago, IL
“The insightful approach to exploring the topics of race, class, gender, privilege and bias through the lens of Defamation was energizing and refreshing. The skill of your immensely talented cast was on full display as they led Indiana University Southeast students and faculty on a journey to examine and navigate perspectives about such critical social issues. Moreover, THE DISCUSSION AND INTERACTION BETWEEN THE ACTORS AND AUDIENCE FOLLOWING THE PLAY WAS AMONG THE MOST ENGAGING AND ROBUST I HAVE OBSERVED IN MY CAREER.”
On behalf of the many members of our campus community who attended the production, I CAN ASSURE YOU THAT ALL OF OUR PERSPECTIVES HAVE BEEN SHAPED AND POSITIVELY INFLUENCED AFTER EXPERIENCING DEFAMATION. I look forward to seeing you return to Indiana University Southeast in the future.
Jason L. Meriwether, Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs, Indiana University Southeast
“For the last three years, we’ve booked Defamation and SHOWN IT TO STUDENTS, STAFF AND PARENTS. Bringing Defamation to our school has provided a unique opportunity for staff, students, and community members alike to challenge themselves to discover and explore how our perceptions about race, religion, and class affect the choices we make and the ways in which we interact with each other. THIS EXPERIENCE HAS OPENED THE DOOR FOR MANY SUBSTANTIAL CONVERSATIONS to take place within the community in order to challenge and broaden our thinking.”
Jackie Gnant, New Trier Township High School, Winnetka, IL
“Defamation inspires critical thinking amongst audience members-- students and administrators alike. The courtroom setting spurs dialogue about the current state of the campus, the local community and American society. Most importantly, IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO LEAVE THE 'COURTROOM' WITHOUT A DEEP RE-EXAMINATION WITHIN YOURSELF.”
Andrew F. Roberts, Coordinator of First Year Experience, Western New England University
“Defamation had a profound impact on our students majoring in Sociology, Paralegal, and Business fields of study as well as several passerby students who were drawn into the courtroom drama. THE INTERACTIVE FORUM ALLOWED OUR STUDENTS TO THINK CRITICALLY AND SPEAK DEEPLY ABOUT RACE, CLASS, GENDER AND RELIGION. The cast’s performance invoked empathy on many levels highlighting the complexity of these issues. If you want to engage in an effective and reflective dialogue, book this play today!”
Maria McDuffie, International Student Advisor, Middlesex Community College, Lowell, MA
“Defamation offers A UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY FOR STUDENTS, FACULTY AND STAFF TO OBSERVE AND ACTIVELY ENGAGE IN THE DISCUSSION OF HOW RACE, ETHNICITY, GENDER AND SOCIOECONOMIC STATUS INTERSECT under the paradigms of social justice and the judicial system. Discussions about the outcome of this thought-provoking play still occur between students and faculty. I highly recommend Defamation as an effective educational eye-opener on how social justice may or may not occur within the laws and parameters of the judicial system.”
Stacie Christian, Coordinator for Inclusive Excellence, University of Wisconsin Green Bay
“THE ONLY WAY WE’RE GOING TO CLOSE THE GAP AMONG RACES, CLASSES, AND RELIGION IS THROUGH CIVIL DISCOURSE. DEFAMATION provides the first step.”
Reverend Gessell Berry, Sherman United Methodist Church, Evanston, IL
“My students in Constitutional Law and I had the immense privilege of attending a recent production of Defamation by playwright Todd Logan. The play is extraordinarily well written-- provocative and engrossing, subtle yet resolutely inviting (if not demanding) that we reflect upon our prejudices. The discussion with the actors following the play is integral to the production and brilliantly enhanced the experience. Bravo!!!!”
Susan Connor, Professor of Law, The John Marshall Law School, Chicago, IL
“I would absolutely recommend this play to any teachers who are interested in having a complex discussion about race, class, religion and gender. MY STUDENTS WERE MESMERIZED AND ENGAGED”
Jenifer Resnick, Glenbrook North High School English, Northbrook, Il.
“LOGAN AND COMPANY DEFTLY HIT THEIR TARGET, engaging the audience from the first moment in a real-to-life trial of American sensibilities of race and gender. The play generates conversations, discussions, questions, and insights that are deep and long-lasting.”
James E. Bowley, Ph.D. Professor and Chair of Religious Studies, Millsaps College, Jackson, Ms.
“As a public library and community center, we look for programming that will engage and challenge our residents, and bring in diverse audiences to discuss and learn about important issues. I COULD NOT HAVE DREAMED OF A BETTER PROGRAM to fulfill those goals than Defamation. We had a large, ethnically diverse audience, and a lively discussion with the wonderful actors/facilitators. I highly recommend Defamation for any library or community organization!”
Lesley Williams, Head of Adult Services Evanston Public Library, Evanston, Il.
“My students in Constitutional Law and I had the immense privilege of attending a recent production of DEFAMATION by playwright Todd Logan. THE PLAY IS EXTRAORDINARILY WELL WRITTEN-- PROVOCATIVE AND ENGROSSING; SUBTLE YET RESOLUTELY INVITING (if not demanding) that we reflect upon our prejudices. The discussion with the actors following the play is integral to the production and brilliantly enhanced the experience. Bravo!!!!”
Susan Connor, Professor of Law, The John Marshall Law School, Chicago, Il
“DEFAMATION inspires audiences of all ages to think critically and reflect deeply about race, class, gender and religion. As an educator, I believe the play provides a highly engaging forum for high school and college students to explore tacit assumptions about issues of consequence through meaningful dialogue. THE IMPACT OF LOGAN'S PLAY WILL LINGER LONG AFTER THE FINAL ACT.”
Nancy Budwig, Associate Provost, Clark University, Worcester, Ma.
“DEFAMATION IS A THOUGHT AND DISCUSSION PROVOKING PLAY that has led to powerful conversations among students, faculty and staff, and community members. Talking about race is hard and the play offers entry into the discussion. We have had positive feedback from all participants in our audiences.”
David Futransky, Community Liaison, Evanston Township High School, Evanston, Il
“The Leadership Jackson Alumni members were quite impressed with the phenomenal Defamation play! THE CAST MEMBERS EXHIBITED INCREDIBLE TALENTS and we were simply blessed to have had them in our city to present a theme on areas that are still relevant to our society today.”
Shirley R. Tucker, Greater Jackson Chamber Partnership, Jackson, Ms.
“Bringing DEFAMATION to our synagogue proved gratifying for a number of reason: it inspired thoughtful discussion and reflection about our own views of race and equality, and allowed us to explore the nuances of other perspectives. IT WAS AN ENGAGING AND WELL-ACTED PLAY AND I WOULD HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT.”
Cantor Michelle Drucker Friedman, Emanuel Congregation, Chicago, Il
“It was truly our pleasure to be able to host such a play. As wonderful as the play was, IT WAS EQUALLY AS MOVING TO SEE HOW ENGAGED PEOPLE WERE WITH THE DEBATE.”
Bekki Harris Kaplan, Executive Director, Beth Emet, The Free Synagogue, Evanston
“DEFAMATION IS A SMART, COMPELLING, THOUGHT-PROVOKING COURTROOM DRAMA, which challenges audiences to re-examine their preconceived ideas about race, religion and class. I highly recommend it for everyone.”
– Lauren Beth Gash, Attorney-at-Law, Chair, Judiciary Committee, Illinois House of Representatives (1997-2001)
“I was interested in seeing the play Defamation because I am a high school Social Studies teacher. I am always on the hunt for quality enrichment outside the classroom which will push my students to think outside their own little bubbles. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS PLAY FOR ITS THOUGHTFUL TREATMENT OF THE VARIED ASPECTS OF RACISM. The performance left me with much food for thought. I highly look forward to DEFAMATION being performed this Fall at Von Steuben High School”
– Mary Brandt, Von Steuben High School Social Studies
“A FIRST-RATE PLAY ABOUT A SERIOUS SUBJECT. I want my students to see it and discuss it.”
–Dr. Robert Boone, Founder Young Chicago Authors
“From about the first five minutes of the play to this moment I have been considering the circumstances in DEFAMATION and the culture issues. IT IS AN INCREDIBLY THOUGHT-PROVOKING PLAY THAT I ENJOYED FROM BEGINNING TO END.”
– John Friedman, Attorney—at—Law
RACE, RELIGION, CLASS AND GENDER
COLLIDE IN THE RIVETING
A PLAY BY