You have been summoned. Yes, you. You will have the power to decide if Dr Patrick Sherwood is guilty of killing his wife or if he is innocent of the crime for which he is on trial.
This breaking of the fourth wall – where the audience is collectively an actor; part of the show – is exactly what ‘The Accused’ brings to Dubai’s Junction in Alserkal Avenue from June 24-26. (Don’t fret – all COVID-19 measures are strictly maintained at all times.)
The production, written by British writer Jeffrey Archer, has been directed by Akansha Goenka, Co-Founder of The Junction and winner of Best Director at the Short+Sweet Theatre Festival. She says: “The audience can expect a lot of engagement. There are so many twists and turns in the play that it will really make them think hard before deciding on their verdict.”
Mahmoud Basyouni, who plays Dr Sherwood, said COVID played a huge part in how the show was worked upon. “It was really challenging putting up a play in such circumstances. As a start we had to do separate rehearsals with a smaller number of actors working on scenes bit by bit. Following regulations by keeping masks on was another challenge as we always work on each other’s reactions.
“While times are tough, the important thing is we keep doing what we love,” he added.
Each night the play’s ending is determined by the watchers – each night the result may change. This unpredictability adds an element of challenge for not just the actors but also the director, who says: “It is very challenging as the actors are breaking the stereotype of breaking the fourth wall and they are dependent on the audience to decide the fate of the play.”
Award winning actor, Lydia Medeiros, plays Amanda Kersley, echoes the sentiment. “This play is such an unusual play, and it’s quite exciting from an actor’s point of view. It’s exciting for me to go in and not know what’s going to happen that night, because no two audiences will be the same. And therefore, no two shows will be the same.”
And so, you’ve been summoned to determine the fate of Dr Sherwood. Guilty or innocent: Pick carefully.
Don’t miss it!
Tickets to see ‘The Accused’ at The Junction, Alserkal Avenue on June 24-26 at 7.30pm are priced at Dh100.