Home 9 Columns 9 Defamation, the Play

In 2017 and again in 2018, the VCLF sponsored performances at Calabasas High School Performing Arts Center of the nationally-acclaimed drama, DEFAMATION, a professional, traveling, theatrical courtroom drama about race, religion and class. Written and created by Todd Logan, the play dramatizes a civil suit in which an African-American woman sues a wealthy real estate developer after being accused of stealing his watch. The 80-minute performance is followed by a 15-minute student-audience deliberation. The play’s judge polls the students twice – once before the deliberation begins and again at its end. The final vote for the plaintiff or for the defendant decides the outcome of the trial.

In 2017, more than 200 students from three Valley magnet high schools and participating law post and teen court programs attended the production. In 2018, the event was even more successful, with 300+ students from seven San Fernando Valley schools attending. Participants came from John Burroughs High School, Taft High School, Canoga Park High School, Northridge Academy High School, and San Fernando High School, as well as the Law and Police Magnet programs at James Monroe High School and Reseda High School. As an added bonus for students attending the performance, Los Angeles Superior Court Judges Virginia Keeny and Firdaus Dordi led a thought-provoking pre-show dialogue with the audience.

Alise Cayen, Program Coordinator of Reseda High School’s Law & Public Service Magnet and Police Academy Magnet, shared that her students “thoroughly loved the play. There was nothing but positive feedback about the event” while VCLF past Co-President and current Board member Kira Masteller added that, “It was truly inspirational to see how engaged the student-audience was during the performance and especially the post-show discussion.” VCLF is very proud to have sponsored this program for the benefit of Valley students.