From the Pingree School newsletter in South Hamilton, MA:
Dear Pingree Families,
I encourage you to ask your children how they voted in The Defamation Experience assembly yesterday; more importantly, ask them about their thinking and how they arrived at their decision. I am proud of how students engaged in meaningful dialogue about a complex, well-acted civil defamation case that involved class, race, gender, religion, inference, bias, and its influence on the law. Students were captivated through all three parts: the Play, the Deliberation, and the Discussion, and participated respectfully in an open discussion of preference, prejudice, and the "it depends" gray in between. The two hours spent together yesterday morning were meaningful and important to our mission-driven work to think critically and reflectively.
Last Thursday night, in the wake of a presidential election that left national and local community emotions raw, Holderness School students came together to continue their conversations about this year's theme of "privilege" by becoming the jury in a civil suit. Defamation, a live courtroom drama performance in which the audience decides the trial, challenged our ideas of race, class, gender, religion, and justice.
From the Pine Crest School student newspaper in Ft. Lauderdale, FL:
After the play, audience members were invited to participate in an open, honest, meaningful discussion about race, class, religion, gender and the law. The discussion was a way for students to make their voice heard about many issues that they face as young adults today, and will probably face for years to come.
From the Wyoming Seminary Prep student newspaper in Pennsylvania:
This was a unique experience because these subjects are often not approached in a school environment. Sessions were varied, some being more informational and material based, while others were more discussion based. But the sessions not only informed students about what was going on in their world today but also what they will be facing in the coming years. Topics included safe spaces and free speech on college campuses, treatment of people with different sexual orientations, along with other concepts.
This play seems like something you'd see on television. People are shouting and crying, and lawyers are making snide remarks about each other…
Defamation is not only about the entertainment, it is a play created to provoke thought about the topics of race, gender and class. Wade is a black woman from the south side of Chicago, and Golden is a wealthy Jewish man from a prominent suburb. A large part of the play involves questioning the prejudices of Golden. At one point Wade all but calls him a racist.
Elisa Rodriguez, Transitions Coordinator, Newton Country Day School, Newton, MA
I was so grateful that your play allowed us to have a conversation about race and gender with our whole community present. That was such a gift. The play's structure and your ability to facilitate, created an environment in which students felt impelled to honestly share their thoughts with the community. Even though it was challenging for some, it created the right impact.
The following day after the Elections, the Head brought the community together to process the Election with an open mic forum, and I am certain it was inspired by your discussion. Your forum allowed us to feel success at having open and transparent dialogue with the whole community regarding issues that are difficult to address.
From a Law Professor at Roger Williams University School of Law, Bristol, RI
Dear Mr. Logan,
Your play was performed at our law school last night. I happen to be a law professor who teaches Evidence and Torts, among other subjects. Colleagues brought your play to our school because we believe it is important to stimulate meaningful discussions about race, religion, and gender, and to challenge all of us - students and faculty alike - to think about the impact that different perspectives make in the legal system. I just wanted you to know how absolutely terrific I think your play is a vehicle for doing that. I believe our students were enriched by your play. I know I was.
P.S. The actors did justice your play. Their performances were first-rate.
Indigo Murray - Penn State University Blog October 11, 2015
The play had a strong impact on me. It still has one. Not because a case like this was being brought to trial, or because half of the cast was comprised of women, though that is part of it. It was because the women were black, successful, and well spoken. Seeing black women with their hair looking ever so professional with their outfits crisp and their wit sharp as their minds was so inspiring to me. I've never seen a black woman portray a character of high esteem without some fault like having an attitude problem, having weave, lacking intelligence, or being overly sexualized.
The three characters were successful with no strings attached. Two were lawyers, and one owned her own business. I was transfixed for more reasons than the plot and the delivery. There are so many words to describe exactly what I felt as I watched each character speak with such eloquence, with awe definitely being on the top of the list. To be completely transparent, I felt that tears could potentially fall during the middle of the play, and that feeling didn't leave until I reached my dorm room. Because honesty is a virtue one should uphold, tears were shed. I got the chance to speak with two of the actresses and when I was speaking to Ms. Gina Taliaferro, I got choked up. Hopefully the tears conveyed just how much and how deeply she, Ms. Stacie Doublin, and Ms. Kimm Beavers inspired me. My goal since I started my collegiate career has been to go to law school, and this play really solidified that for me. I believe that it's my responsibility to be somebody others can look up to and can aspire to be like. That's how I've always acted and positive results have been showing within my family for years. But seeing those three women proved to me that one woman can make a world of difference to someone else. And I intend to be the role model, the catalyst for forward thinking, the paradigm shifter, and so much more. Actually, I've decided that I will be.