Uniform Justice (2014)
The Dramatic Focus
Uniform Justice was commissioned by the Mayor’s Innovation Team as a community-focused complement to the Insight policing program carried out by the Memphis Police Department in partnership with the School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University. The focus is to illuminate the context, issues, themes, images, and the range of hopes and threats that mark the lives and relationships of community members and police officers in south Memphis.
The Aesthetic Aim
To deepen insight and build appreciation for the personal and social complexities of the crises in the rule of law and police authority by dramatizing the thoughts, feelings, decisions, and actions, of community members and police officers in south Memphis.
The Insight Research
The playwright conducted over two-dozen, hour-long, one-on-one, Insight conversations with TÉA cast members, community members, and members of the Memphis Police Department. Each Insight conversation opened with the following set of questions:
If you could have the conversation about community-police relations in Memphis that you would like to have:
Who would you like to speak to?
What would you like to speak about?
What would you hope might be better as a result of this conversation?
The Performance Piece
Uniform Justice is a one-act play featuring original music and lyrics. It opens in present day south Memphis and dramatizes the cares and threats – the deliberating and deciding – of community residents and police officers in a neighborhood on the violent edge of the city’s crisis in the rule of law. Action focuses on several fateful summer weeks in the lives and families of three childhood friends – one of whom has just returned from four years in college, one of whom has become a Memphis police officer, and one of whom is working his plan for a career in music scene.
Uniform Justice was originally performed in collaboration with the Hattie Lou Theatre Company in Memphis (2014) and subsequently at the New West Theatre in Cleveland, the New York Fringe Theatre Festival (2015), and community venues in New York and New Jersey.
Artistic Director: Vieve Radha Price
Playwright: Chukuma Obasi
Co-Directors: Chukuma Obasis, Farid Johnson
Music and Lyrics: Farid Johnson, Chukuma Obasi