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Defamation continues BIG ARTS' theme of thought-provoking theater season

February 12, 2014
By ROBBIE SPENCER ( , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

The nationally acclaimed play Defamation will come to Sanibel on Feb. 20 for a special 10-day run.

Playwright Todd Logan came to the island on Jan. 30 for a special reception to promote the play and discuss his inspiration for the 75-minute courtroom drama.

"I started thinking about my life. Was it less enriched because my experience had grown but narrowed in other ways so much? It upset me."

Article Photos

Defamation playwright Todd Logan.

Logan, a playwright, filmmaker and humorist, has credits including the play Botanic Garden, the independent film With a Family Like Mine, and several humor pieces published in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The San Francisco Chronicle and Writer's Digest.

The play focuses on an African American professional woman who is suing a wealthy Jewish businessman over an alleged case of defamation. As does a real trial, the audience hears from both sides and must attempt to sort through their own feelings about issues of race, religion and class to reach a verdict.

"I wrote plays to figure out my answers to these questions."

Fact Box


Defamation, written by Todd Logan.

When: Feb. 20 through March 2.

Dates & Times:

Thursday, Feb. 20, Opening Night Reception: 7 p.m., Show starts at 8 p.m.

New 4 p.m. Sunday Twilight Shows: Feb. 23; March 2?8 p.m. Shows: Feb. 21, 22, 25, 26, 27, 28; and March 1

Where: BIG ARTS' Herb Strauss Theater

Tickets: $42, $5 with valid Student ID.

Playwright Todd Logan will be on hand to lead the post-performance discussion for the first several shows.

Logan believes these issues are still very much alive throughout the country.

"Whether we like it or not, we still have major divides in this country," he said. "Most of us still go to bed at night in communitiesthat are segregated by race, religion, ethnicity, and/or class."

Defamation provides a special jury for each show: the audience.

"I found the power of civil discourse. The audience is the jury, there's no more arm's length."

Logan engages the crowd in a discussion at the end of each night, a 15-minute deliberation before reaching a verdict. He's been fascinated by the results.

"I wanted to write something where people would talk about how they felt when they got in their car. Since the audience is the jury, I get to listen to that car ride home."

The verdict has varied show to show with some shocking results in controversial venues, including high schools, universities, law schools, synagogues and churches. Logan said it's because "there's not smoking gun" piece of evidence.

"We think jurors are going on the law, but we find that we go on our emotions sometimes. It's fascinating, exciting," he said. "You get this thriller. Every scene has this tension to it. In the audience you go back and forth, and you think, and then more information comes out."

Tickets are available at the Marks Box Office at 395-0900. For more information about the show, visit



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