Jury Duty is a new devised theater piece investigating America’s most performative democratic ritual. Inspired by director Morgan Green’s own experience reporting (and not getting selected for) jury duty, and her subsequent fascination with the intertwined politics and pageantry of that event, Jury Duty dramatizes a voir dire process — the cross interrogation of prospective jurors by competing attorneys. During voir dire, individuals from all walks of life navigate presenting their histories and values in bite-sized, digestible tidbits, in a drab, fluorescent-lit room, before an audience of potentially judgemental strangers, in the face of unknown high-stakes consequences. The whole thing feels like theater: justice administered via theater. Through the playful staging of verbatim voir dire transcripts, interspersed with harrowing personal stories culled from a series of interviews with former jurors, Jury Duty ultimately leads audience members to a deeply introspective place, where they are invited to ask piercing questions about their own biases, social masks, civic responsibilities, and notions of justice.
The project is being devised collaboratively by a core team of three artists: long-time creative duo director Morgan Green and writer Milo Cramer (known for Minor Character at The Public Theater’s Under The Radar Festival and Cute Activist at The Bushwick Starr), are joined by media designer Ray Sun (Broadway’s King Kong). The project is not primarily script-based: we are building the show in real space and real time, working as three equal collaborators, voting on every decision. Creative Producer Caroline Gart (HERE’S Prototype Festival) completes the project’s team, bringing with her a robust administrative know-how and a fierce DIY ethos.