Five cast members of the upcoming Ferguson stage play abruptly quit this week after reading the play’s script, which recreates the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson using testimony taken from the grand jury proceedings in the case.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the cast members quit the production after learning the true circumstances surrounding Brown’s death. Playwright and producer Phelim McAleer told Breitbart News that the script is based strictly on grand jury testimony, with “nothing added. No dialogue, no characters.”
“He claims that he wrote this to try to get to the truth of it, but everybody’s truth is totally subjective,” former cast member Veralyn Jones told the Times. “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.”
A self-described “very liberal, left-wing-leaning” cast member, Philip Casnoff, told the Times that when he learned about McAleer’s conservative background, he thought, “Whoa, this is not the place for me to be.”
“It felt like the purpose of the piece was to show, ‘Of course he was not indicted – here’s why,'” Casnoff added.
McAleer has repeatedly stated that his play is based on a genre of drama called “verbatim theater,” in which events depicted on stage are a recreation of exact witness testimony and interviews.
“The truth is the truth. If it doesn’t fit in with their beliefs, they need to change their beliefs,” McAleer told the Times. “All the people who testified that he had his hands up, it was pretty much demolished in grand jury testimony.”
McAleer reportedly rejected cast members’ suggestions to “balance out” the play with information sympathetic to Brown, leading to their decision to quit. However one actress, Donzaleigh Abernathy, said she would wait to meet McAleer Thursday night before making a decision on whether to continue with the production.
“I want to hear what he has to say face to face,” Abernathy told the Times. “I actually want to know, on a moral level, how can you do something like this that you know will divide America? Does it make you feel good? Obviously he has a personal agenda. What is his personal agenda?”
“These are people who claim to love diversity, and they don’t love diversity,” McAleer countered. “They just want people to agree with them.”
Ferguson, directed by veteran theater director Nick DeGruccio, is set to open at Los Angeles’ Odyssey Theater on Sunday, April 26 for a four-night run. McAleer, the producer of FrackNation and the upcoming Gosnell film, has turned to crowdfunding platform Indiegogo to sell tickets for the production.