August 3, 2012 by Paula Reed Nancarrow
Review of Katherine Glover’s Dead Wrong at Patrick’s Cabaret
What is truth? said jesting Pilate. And did not stay for an answer. So much for justice in court.
This was a gripping show, and I’d recommend it to anyone, but particularly to storytellers and memoirists – because it calls into question the very material we work with. The story is about the wrongful conviction of a man for rape and violent assault, from the perspective of a woman who was certain she had identified the correct man. No one in this story – with the exception of the sociopath who commits the actual crimes described – is a villain. In and of itself, it is a powerful tale, and Katherine dramatizes it well. Her character moves along a trajectory few of us recognize as fluid: from being someone who is a victim of crime to someone who has perpetrated an injustice and now seeks to set it right. She finds herself implicated in a system which is inherently racist, one burdened by the entropy of CYA logic and the failure of remorse and compassion to effect change. This is not only an important story; it is masterfully portrayed. Once more I appreciate what people who commit their lives to their art are offering the rest of us, and it humbles me.
One thing I would like that did not happen on opening night: a call to action on the part of the performer. She makes reference in her program to the Innocence Project of Minnesota, but did not mention them in her closing to the audience. Since the story ends on a difficult – albeit realistic – note, it would be helpful to know what concrete things can be done to mitigate the problem described. On a more general level, this story has me thinking about the nature of memory as it relates to what I consider “true” in storytelling in ways that will be provocative and fruitful in my own work for a long time to come.