This Fall’s MacDuffie Theater production, “Night of January 16th” by Ayn Rand played to overflow crowds on the second weekend in November. The play is a murder trial, where the character Karen Andre, played by sophomore Gina Napolitano, is tried for the murder of Bjorn Faulkner. She is defended by attorney Paul Stevens, played by Senior Caleb Shelburne, and prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Ave Flint, played by Sophomore Suzy Appiah. Eleven witnesses testify, and a jury of six audience members, who were chosen at the beginning of the trial, must decide her guilt or innocence. Each night the jury returned a verdict of not guilty, and presiding judge Mildred Healy, played by Senior Maryanne Magnier discharged the defendant.
As part of the preparation for this production the entire cast and crew visited Springfield District Court on October 22. They observed various court sessions including arraignments, guilty pleas, and a trial. Several court personnel spoke to the group. Court officers, clerks, and both defense attorneys and prosecutors explained their function in the judicial system. The group met with Judge Robert Gordon, and asked many questions about what they had observed. Judge Gordon’s daughter Emily, now a law student, is a MacDuffie graduate. He told the students how much her MacDuffie education had benefited her both in college and law school. The cast concluded their visit by performing various scenes from the play in an actual court room. Each witness testified from a real witness stand. This life experience added to the quality of each actor’s performance and enriched their knowledge of the American judicial system.
Just a reminder that dvd’s of this year’s play may be purchased for $20. Please see Mrs. Mavlouganes to purchase your dvd.