Kyle Bowser will be hosting an open dialogue movie event on the use of the N-word in school curriculum at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica on Monday, Oct. 17 at 7:30 pm.
The film and television producer has been putting on this production throughout the country where he has the audience watch a fictional film of a trial where a 9-year-old Black girl is in class during Black History Month and the schoolteacher uses the n-word when describing how Black people were treated during the civil rights movement.
The parents decide to sue the school and, during the 30 minute film, both sides give their opinion. The parents say that they feel that they should have had to sign a release if the word was going to be used in class, while the school says that the civil rights movement is often sugar-coated and not told factually. The audience watches arguments from both sides and as the jury is set to deliberate, the film stops and the lights of the theater come on. The audience is then given the opportunity to deliberate and give their opinions about what they would do.
“It gets heated, but respectful,” said Bowser. “For a lot of the audience it’s their first time ever getting to speak and hear other people’s opinions on these issues, especially in a public space.”
This started out as a possible TV show for UPN where a couple wanted to have a baby but the father was incarcerated. The couple wanted to use artificial insemination, but the state told them that they were not allowed to have a baby given their circumstance. It has now taken on the topic of the N-word in school, but Bowser would like to see it go further. He wants his Trial by Jury events to showcase issues of immigration, domestic violence and any other topics where people may have a difference of opinion.
“The purpose of this is to provoke dialogue, which is essential to our ability to proceed in a civil manner,” said Bowser. “It provides everyday people the chance to express themselves and hear someone else’s perspective.”
The show has been touring around the country since 2015. It started here in Los Angeles, but has also been to Philadelphia and Cleveland. It is set to go to the Apollo Theater in New York in February of 2017 for Black History Month. This will be the first time that it will be in Santa Monica. Tickets range from $25 to $55 and they can be purchased at www.thebroadstage.com.