A new play written for lockdown by Martin Murray, Jury puts us into the jury room – or Zoom – as 12 people on furlough come together to consider a case against a high-profile white female TV presenter: accused of grooming a young black boy.
It is hard to ignore parallels to the situation of the late Caroline Flack, although the details of the case are very different. Can a jury really put unconscious biases aside when the person on trial has been discussed in the mass media? And can anyone in the public eye really get a fair hearing?
Pulling together a composite jury sharply delineated by their sex, age, race, politics, and level of familiarity with new tech and terms (emojis, WhatsApp, cougars, dick pics and more form part of the Zoom discussion), Jury attempts to build characterisations and develop a story in less than an hour.
However, it is far from Twelve Angry Men and feels more like a comedic experiment of its time, a series of character studies behind each camera at home. We get to see and hear only a part of the story, and I found the abrupt ending quite frustrating, but only because by then I was fully invested in these people and their discussions.
Jury has been developed by the Park Theatre Company – Script Class together with Amy Allen taking on the role of director. The resulting stream is the result of ten weeks work, and shows what can be achieved through creative learning programmes.
This play is available for free on YouTube until 2 September. Donations are welcome to the Park Theatre’s Park Life Fund.