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Five actors have walked off the limited engagement play “Ferguson,” throwing the controversial project into crisis. The play, scheduled to run April 26-29th, was a compilation of grand jury testimony about the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson. It was written by my pal Phelim McAleer, who is also producing the Kermit Gosnell project, for which I wrote the script.
According to the L.A. Times, the actors balked when they realized the script — i.e. the testimony — more or less vindicated the police officer’s actions, showing that the enormous Brown had been charging the cop at the time he was shot. One veteran actor quoted by the Times was Philip Casnoff:
“It felt like the purpose of the piece was to show, ‘Of course he was not indicted — here’s why,'” Casnoff said. He said that after he learned who the play’s author was, Casnoff, who describes himself as “very liberal, left-wing-leaning,” thought, “Whoa, this is not the place for me to be.”
And then there was this:
“He [Phelim] claims that he wrote this to try to get to the truth of it, but everybody’s truth is totally subjective,” said Veralyn Jones, an African American cast member who resigned. “When you come to the matter of what really happened, nobody really knows for sure, because everybody has a different take on it. … It just didn’t feel right to me.”
Phelim’s response to this last was classic: “The truth is the truth. If it doesn’t fit in with their beliefs, they need to change their beliefs.”
Wait, what? Change their beliefs to fit the facts instead of the other way around??? But Phelim, then there would be no leftism!
Obviously, actors have the right to do whatever jobs they want, but it saddens me that the same cast members who would have gladly joined a fictional play showing the police to be racist and reckless, refuse to give voice to a work of non-fiction showing that one beleaguered police officer, at least, was not. In the safety of left-wing Hollywood, left-wing artists like to pretend they are taking risks “speaking truth to power.” But they never do; never. No risks; no truth; only leftism, which pleases the powers in their lives no end. This is a case in point.
Phelim swears the show will go on. I hope it does. You can contribute to the effort here.