If the glove in the O. J. Simpson trial could actually voice its own tale, then perhaps we wouldn’t have had such a to-do about the whole business. There would have been none of this ‘If it doesn’t fit, then you must acquit,’ the glove’s account drowning out even lawyer Johnnie Cochran’s annoying refrain. Or at least that’s what we’d like to believe. Zoe McGee, a student at Worcester, shows that the truth of the tale, even from those inanimate witnesses to the crime, is a difficult thing to obtain no matter the source of the story.
McGee, an English student with a fondness for murder mysteries, gives voice to those lifeless pieces of evidence in her creation ‘Accessory to Murder.’ In this expanded form of a work shown at Drama Cupeprs earlier this year, McGee and Jordan Saxby co-direct two shades of lipstick, a quality broadsheet, and a tabloid newspaper. Infusing this array with the ability to talk allows for an intriguing and startlingly fresh take on what is a genre replete with clichés.
A man has been murdered, the newspapers say. But the Sun (Rolf Merchant) and the Guardian (Nouran Koriem) don’t just plainly speak the words, they bicker over it, because of course these two very different papers have their own way of explaining the controversy. And when the evidence itself enters the dialogue, the ‘truth’ becomes even more clouded. With two marks of color upon the dead man’s dress shirt wanting a chance to divulge their own details—Rose (Charlotte Lennon) and Red (Rhiannon Kelly)— ‘Accessory to Murder’ becomes a mystery in which the interesting enigma is not so much who actually committed the crime, but instead what will dictate where our sympathies will fall.
If the play, set for performance in the Worcester JCR in 7th week, is a success, it will be thanks to McGee’s clever writing. The conversation of the objects on stage is bursting with wit, seizing upon the discursive opportunities presented by their ‘inanimate’ identities. But the play is not simply just sharp dialogues and one-liners. It goes deeper as well, investigating the nature of truth and fiction, and the emotional implications of the extramarital affair at hand. Occasionally the drama goes too far, the attempt to urge sympathy for the object simply for its lifeless state an unnecessary component in a play already delving into captivating debates.
In the end, however, ‘Accessory to Murder’ makes a strong case for itself. The evidence holds up—McGee has created lines of quality, even if the papers on stage want to rip them to shreds.