I was thinking of what to write today. There are several dramaturgy related projects that I am working on today. I am spending some time working on things for the Houston Brazilian Festival and then working on the actor packet and my protocol for The Mountaintop at the Court (rehearsals begin in Aug).
However, I feel the need to begin with an acknowledgement of the verdict in the Zimmerman case. Dramaturgically, something is wrong with this case, the trial, etc. If we examine this from a story perspective – we have two separate and contradictory elements running concurrently (if we were to treat this narrative as a play).
One version of the overarching story says that a person is allowed to “protect” oneself and one’s neighborhood by any means necessary (i.e. – use of deadly force against another). Another version of this story says that one is innocent until proven guilty.
It seems as though these stories could work in tandem, but this is a little off kilter in this case. Zimmerman used deadly force to protect himself and his neighborhood. However, we are missing the flip-side of this story. Martin was not allowed to protect himself and his neighborhood from a would-be attacker (if we look at Zimmerman as the person who was the stranger in this case) by any means necessary since, in the end, his life was taken and the fact that he may have used physical force to protect himself was part of the reason that his killer walked free. He may have been a visitor to the neighborhood, but since he was a MINOR, visiting his father and his father’s fiancee, doesn’t that make that neighborhood his home too?
Returning to the other story that seems to be running contradictory, Zimmerman is supposed to be viewed as innocent until proven guilty. I am curious, however, how Martin was not afforded that same respect. Before and during the time Zimmerman was on trial for this murder, Martin became the victim of a smear campaign. I say this in order to establish that Martin had to be viewed as “guilty” of something in order to prove Zimmerman’s innocence. Yes, I know, “reasonable doubt” is at play here in finding Zimmerman innocent, but I am worried about the “story/stories” we are illustrating in this “play” (to continue with the analogy) by finding Zimmerman innocent. Does that mean that ANYONE walking down the street at night who may, or may not, decide to glance in a window has to worry about confrontation and possible death that ends in their killer walking free?
Anyway, I would encourage all of my dramaturgical friends to take a look at the narrative that has played out and let me know if I am off with my dramaturigical assessment of this narrative. I also realize that this analysis may seem very one-sided. But to be honest, I have very few dramaturgical questions about Zimmerman’s side of this, but I do have more about Martin’s (especially since by virtue of his death, he cannot tell his side of the story).
Anyway, love to hear what you all are thinking out there……