The Accused – a play by Jeffrey Archer

Written by Vaida Wippermann

Theatre stage performance is one of the art forms that has the most intimate connection with the audience. H72 Production, the largest community theatre group in the UAE, is bringing this connection to the next level. The courtroom drama The Accused by Jeffrey Archer will allow the audience to participate in the play and decide the fate of Dr. Patrick Sherwood who is accused of murdering his wife. 

The writer of the play “The Accused” Jeffrey Howard Archer is an English novelist, former politician, and convicted perjurer. Not only are his writings published in 97 countries and more than 33 languages with international sales nearing 300 million copies, but he himself has a personality as colourful as his writings. While he writes about intense courtroom drama keeping the spectators on the edge of their seats he himself is no stranger to a courtroom. In 2000 Mr. Archer was charged with perjury and perverting the course of justice during the 1987 libel trial. Some researchers say that Mr. Archer started writing his books as a way to avoid bankruptcy due to his involvement in a fraudulent investment scheme. Apart from his short stories and novels he wrote three stage plays. “The Accused” was his final play which opened at the Theatre Royal, Windsor on 26th of September, 2020.

“Making a million legally has always been difficult. Making a million illegally has always been a little easier. Keeping a million when you have made it is perhaps the most difficult of all.” 

― Jeffrey Archer, Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less

Having an extensive experience of the courtroom proceedings Mr. Archer creates a unique experience for his audience. Mystery surrounds the death of Mrs Elizabeth Sherwood, a wife of respected cardiac surgeon Dr. Patrick Sherwood. Audience will review the evidence and arguments presented by both sides, prosecution and defence. By Act Three the audience will have a chance to participate in court proceedings and express their opinion. Guilty or Innocent? Depending on the answer the play will have a different ending.

This play offers an opportunity for the audience to participate in court proceedings, hear the arguments from both legal sides, witness a live cross-examination and direct testimonies. The jury (audience) can shape their perception of each character through dialogs and information received during the court proceedings and use their gut feeling to deliver the verdict. The narrator will guide the audience at the key points to express their verdict and the implemented vote counting system will swiftly determine which way the play will end.

The groundworks to prepare for the play started early this year, with auditions for the roles held in April. Almost 70 people have been auditioned for various roles either physically attending in The Junction, or by submitting recorded videos. Akansha Goenka, Co-Founder of The Junction and the director of the play, has selected the best possible cast consisting of newcomers and veterans of the community theatre scene in UAE.

Akansha Goenka admits that directing the play with different possible endings keeps her on her toes, however she has full faith in her cast and believes that they will be able to pivot flawlessly and put together a great show. It is important to note, that actors were facing many constraints due to COVID-19 and imposed rules & regulations, such as rehearsing in small groups and wearing masks. It is difficult to create a cohesive performance without fully seeing and understanding the reactions of your colleagues performing on stage next to you. Regardless of the challenges, the director and actors are excited about the premier and looking forward to seeing the audience’s verdict.

Information about the performance

What: The Accused.

When:

  • Thursday 24th of June, 7:30 PM

  • Friday 25th of June, 7:30 PM

  • Saturday 26th of June, 2:30 PM & 7:30PM

Where: The Junction, Unit H72, Alserkal Avenue, 8 St, Dubai, UAE

Tickets: Book My Show


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