On the stage transformed into a courtroom, a trial takes place, the trial oif a young man who during a wedding kills his girlfriend’s father. The protagonists, the only actors on stage, present themselves, Hamlet for the accused, Gertrude for his mother and Ophelia for his ex girlfriend. The lawyers, the presiding judge, the bailiff are actual people of the law in the town in which the play is being performed. After the arguments are presented, twelve members of the audience are chosen to be the jury and they will deliberate and decide on the guilt or innocence of the accused.
Immersed in the dramaturgy of the crime and the authenticity of the proceedings, the audience finds themselves witnessing firsthand the complex workings of justice. Directly involved in the debates, they are asked to “examine the charges” and to remember that “the accused is presumed innocent and that he is owed the benefit of the doubt.”
Based on the records of a real case as well as on the murder of Polonius in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the performance owes as much to the concept of a mock trial as well as a speech contest. The universality of the situation reveals parallels between theatrical codes and those of a trial but blurs the line between fiction and reality. With this troubling experience, Yan Duyvendak and Roger Bernay question the pertinence of juries in trials and leads everyone to question their own ideas of justice, especially on the subjectivity of their decisions.