ATLANTA - A new play opening Friday at Synchonicity Theatre provides an unusual take on the Troy Davis death penalty case, which gained international attention in 2011.
"Beyond Reasonable Doubt: The Troy Davis Project" presents directly conflicting opinions of the case equally. One act points to his guilt, while the other act points to his innocence.
"A lot of times, audience members are told what to believe, and I think that's a very easy position to take," said playwright Lee Nowell. "But I think audience members are smart enough to make their own decisions."
"Why not take a position as the playwright?" asked 11Alive's Jennifer Leslie.
"What I was interested in was the polarizing aspect of the case and the fact that everyone took a side," Nowell added.
Nowell admits she became obsessed with the Davis case as defense attorneys and protestors tried to stop his execution five years ago.
Davis was convicted and sentenced to death for killing Savannah Police Officer Mark MacPhail in 1989.
The play is not a biography. Troy Davis is not a character. But it's based on facts.
"Nothing in the play has been invented," Nowell added. "Other than the fictional characters through whom the story plays out, nothing has been invented, changed, spun. Nothing."
She approached this play like a journalist, going through 2,000 pages of trail testimony and witness recantations.
She also interviewed many of those directly involved in the case.
To keep the play balanced, Nowell insisted on something unusual. Acts One and Two alternate order each night.
"The only way I could come up with it being a complete balance is to tell it in a different order every night, because the order in which you receive information really determines what you believe about something," Nowell said.
Another unusual twist is that every performance will be followed by a discussion with the audience.
The play runs from Friday through May 1.
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