This psychological crime drama brings to life ordinary people who

break through fears and mutual prejudices to take extraordinary actions for fairness… and some who cannot take that journey. Guilty or not, can Mazen, a Saudi youth accused of raping and robbing at knifepoint an an American businessman get a fair trial in post 9/11 New York City? This Muslim man’s fate depends on three women - his Jewish defense lawyer Miriam, his accuser’s wife Lynn and prosecutor Gerrie who is determined to force a guilty plea or convict the first Saudi accused of any crime in New York since the attacks – and on his accuser’s conservative, gay brother-in-law.

The characters show their sides of this story - fictional but inspired by an actual trial: Two men meet at a gay club. Two days later the younger man rings a bell that the older man’s estranged wife answers and later tells her husband he had a visitor. The husband, Doug, rushes to get a restraining order, afraid if the young man returns, his wife will learn too much – and that night, Mazen (“Zen”), a Saudi on an expired student visa, finds himself in a Rikers cellblock reserved for gang murderers. His defense lawyer assumes his claims of innocence are a predator’s con game… until she sees video evidence.


Your husband charges my client with raping and robbing him at knifepoint,” Miriam tells the accuser’s wife Lynn before asking her to look at evidence. If Lynn sees no guilt, the defendant will risk a trial less than ten years after 9/11 with a jury of New Yorkers. But a prosecutor is pressuring for a 10 year plea deal rather than 20+.


“My husband would never make up those charges!” When Miriam asks the accuser’s wife to testify in court that Mazen was not threatening when he rang her bell, Lynn throws the lawyer out of her apartment. She is sure her husband would never make up charges of rape and armed robbery… but Lynn calls her conservative gay brother Chris to help her find out what is going on.   
“I can’t put my husband and childen at risk!” Lynn says after her brother insists Lynn look at evidence. Lynn sees no signs of guilt, but refuses to get involved, afraid of shame to her family and revenge from the defendant’s family.

As the trial nears, the defense lawyer and prosecutor spar over plea deals, the defendant becomes suicidal, and the accuser’s wife becomes terrified of a revenge attack. Her brother comes to try to stop her manic screwing of more and more locks to her door. His offer of wine to relax, eases Lynn from panic and rage into giggles at the absurdities of sexuality – just as the prosecutor arrives.

Lynn confronts her husband, asking him to drop the charges. She must choose between protecting her family and or taking a stand for justice for the defendant. We see both sides preparing for the trial then key moments. The defense lawyer asks the accuser why he only reported the violence after the defendant met his wife by accident - "I had to protect myself... so my wife and friends would not know I sometimes have sex with men. But I'm not gay." Videos from two ATM areas, show no signs of armed robbery, but the prosecutor shows them quickly with her own narrative about what is happening. While waiting for the verdict, Doug talks bluntly to the audience. By the time the jury’s verdict shocks all involved, we have witnessed some of the people on this journey break through barriers of fear, betrayals and prejudice into profound connection as human beings… and some could not take that journey.

Cast: 3 men, 3 women. Unit Set: Characters tell their sides of the story, with lighting and a prop or piece of furniture to indicate location; possible projection of news headlines, photos, etc.

Script:  pages 4-85. Based on an actual trial, interviews with all involved except the judge, and reading of the 10-day trial transcript. Story rights from defendant and accuser's wife; characters are composites with identifying details changed The defendant asked the writer to tell what happened because even his friends would hear the charges and get that "you must have done something - no one would make that up" look.


Awards:

Winner, Theater Resources Unlimited's 2016 TRU Voices Reading Series (www.TRUonline.org)

Earlier draft awards and placements (previously titled Closets and Somebody's Son)

  • Honorable Mention: Arch and Bruce Brown Foundation's contest for "plays about actual events that position LGBT life positively"
  • Semi-Finalist in top 3% of Beverly Hills Theatre Guild - Julie Harris Playwright Award Competition
  • Semi-Finalist, Ashland New Plays Festival
  • Finalist, MT Works Newborn
  • Winner, WILDsound

anntares.com

​Veils of Justice

STAGED READING produced by Bob Ost's Theater Resources Unlimited (www.TRUonline.org) with Connie Winston, co-producer and Frank Zuback, advisor. Supported in part by public funds from the NYC Dept. of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and Council Member Inez E. Dickens, 9th Council District, NY State Council on the Arts and The Friars and Montage Foundations​.

After the reading, a "Dollars and Sense" panel included:
Pat Addiss, producer (Gigi, A Christmas Story, Dinner with the Boys, Buyer and Cellar, Promises Promises, Little Women); Patrick Blake, producer (The 39 Steps, Bedlam Theatre's Hamlet/St. Joan, My Life Is a Musical, Play Dead, The Exonerated); Daniel Kuney, general manager with Jumpstart Entertainment (Rock of Ages, Fela!, Reasons to Be Pretty); Tom Polum, producer (The Toxic Avenger, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, All Shook Up)
Comments from Audience members at the staged reading in response to request in program to email thoughts about what resonated, what didn't.  Many of these comments also included very valuable suggestions for next draft (underway) and reflect the dynamic actors and supportive, deeply perceptive director, despite barely time to read through each scene 2-3 times:
-----------------------------------------------------------------
From a writer: What a thrilling, powerful, and moving play you've written!  I think the title is fine (unless you can come up with something that suggests justice itself is on trial). What resonated for me?  Pretty much everything. 
----------------------------------------------------------------
From a producer/director: A  dark, funny, unnerving play, that turns our ideas about justice upside down...fast paced, thought provoking. Makes us think about how hidden lives and motives can affect justice. All the hot buttons are here: shocking sex, fears of Arabs, betrayals, bridges across barriers, and maybe even redemption for some.... 
____________________________________
From playwright: So happy for you!  What a triumphant success! 
----------------------------------------------------------------
From a film producer/writer/actor: Play was great . V good writing 
--------------------------------------------------------------
From wife of lawyer: Your play is spellbinding and even my judgmental husband liked it.  You wrote the characters so movingly!  The actors were so wonderful!
----------------------------------------------------------------
From art and design historian/collector and her retired FAA analyst husband: What a triumph! We congratulate you. We were both impressed with the power of your work. I truly believe this play will and must have a life… So many strands woven together into a compelling whole.
----------------------------------------------------------------
From a corporate manager:  Thank you so much for the opportunity to see the full reading of Veils of Justice last night.  The play was wonderfully written, and truly kept me engaged and riveted throughout.  I thought that all the actors gave really impressive performances, and you could tell that the audience was completely transported into the story as well.  Congratulations on what must have been an amazing night … to see your piece performed in a full house theater.  
-----------------------------------------------------------
From a writer/filmmaker: Congratulations on your wonderful play! I meant to introduce myself afterwards, but I guess I kind of got lost in the crowd. My bad! I think your play is terrific and I hope to see it developed further. I think Pat Addiss’s idea of NY Theatre Workshop is really potentially a good fit. It was not at all what I expected—not pedantic, preachy or self righteous—immediate, fresh, compelling. Your writing is quite amazing. And your actors were all spot-on! That was also unexpected for a reading. ,,, I’m a bit biased since I’m also an actress, as well as producer—but I think the less well-known actors always provide a better ensemble experience for a play. Like have you seen The Humans? And of course Eclipsed! Fabulous ensembles. So, all the best for the future of this piece. Oh, I used to be heavily involved in THAW and we produced street theater in front of Manhattan Correctional Facility for months in support of Fahad Hashmi, who was seriously caught up in the post-911 hysteria that saw anyone outspoken about their Islamic faith as a threat. 
-------------------------------------------------------------
From a financial firm business analyst: Can't tell you how wonderful your play is and what a stupendous achievement it is! There is no "veil" drawn over your talent now
-----------------------------------------------------------------
From novelist  formerly involved with Bway productions: Just wanted to share a few thoughts I had about seeing the reading last night.   First. I am knocked out that you've accomplished so much. To have gotten it this far from a virtual standing start. You really had the audience and I was truly moved at the end. I cared and was thrilled with the verdict. That's not an easy thing to accomplish! I wasn't aware of any fidgeting, coughing, rustling. That doesn't happen by accident. Well done!
----------------------------------------------------------------
From head of a university arts therapy dept: You know that a play is good when it haunts you - and your play is definitely sticking around!  Tita- it is a terrific story and I really wish you all the best with getting it out there.  I think it would do VERY well!!!  Thanks for including us in the audience!
----------------------------------------------------------------
From actor who had read one of the parts in table readings but was not free for rehearsals: 
Bravo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  What a show!  And a great turnout. A testament to your appeal to folks all over!
----------------------------------------------------------------
From a senior mgr in major business consulting firm and former manager at finance firms.
Congratulations! What a success. I really liked the play!! There was a lot of emotion...parts where I felt for the characters, parts where I was mad, parts where I cringed in fear, parts when I wanted to scream, and parts where I laughed. You had it all!  Congratulations again and I'm so glad I came out tonight. Well worth it and such a great story to watch. 
________________________________________
From a writer:  What a thrilling, powerful, and moving play you've written!  What resonated for me?  Pretty much everything.
_________________________________________
From an opera singer: The play ...for whatever I know...which is not a lot...seemed to be really tight! I judge art by....did my mind wander...or did I stay focused...like a great Bach piece of music? Well...I can tell you...everyone was focused! My mind didn't wander and I could not believe how well the play moved along...no need for any breaks! A Tannheuser!!More than all this....there was real love expressed....the most important thing about life. ​
_________________________________________
From Bway/TV /Film director who could only read the script in LA:  Strong, eloquent, incisive. I wish I were in New York to see it, or perhaps even be part of it in some way.  It's difficult to suggest trims without hearing it; that's because it's quite tight and any trims should come from the hearing of it on its feet.  It does need to be played with attack and energy; New York energy. There's not a casual moment.  A well-written, thought provoking play. Exciting!  Superb theater !
----------------------------------------------------------------
Question if you read this far: What about changing the name of the private gay club in the story from The Limestone to "Ascots" and make that the title of the play? Contact us if you have a thought!




Unrehearsed table readings, including one with Maryann Plunkett, Antonio Minino, Bill Kozy, Patricia Lynn and other talented generous actors. Revised after each reading and again in a workshop led by playwright Rogelio Martinez at Primary Stages ESPA - and during two years of ProSeries and MSC courses designed by dramaturg Hal Croasman.

Staged reading when the script won Theater Resources Unlimited's 2016 TRU VOICES 8th ANNUAL PLAY READING SERIES

VEILS OF JUSTICE by T. Anntares

Can a young Saudi, accused of rape and robbery, find justice in a post 9/11 NYC courtroom?

Directed by David Stallings

Cast, in order of speaking:

John A. Nelson (Stage Directions)

Kenneth Talberth, (Doug Wingate)…Chris S. Ogren, (Mazen “Zen” Tamedo)… 

Kathleen A. O’Neill, (Lynn Payne Wingate)… Patricia M. Lynn (Miriam Joseph, Esq)… 

Carol Hickey (Geraldine White, Esq)… ​Larry Daggett (Chris Payne)

Staged reading at Soho Playhouse, 15 Vandam St, NYC 10023


Copyright © Anntares. All rights reserved.