Would You Kill Someone to Save the Life of Several Others?

By Dr. Mary

MIAMI Terror, the renowned play by German novelist and lawyer Ferdinand von Schirach asks these questions:  Would you kill one person to save five people?  What if one person’s death saved a hundred, or a thousand?

These are mind boggling questions.  Would you have the guts or the heart to kill another person?  Would it be an easy answer or “a moral dilemma,” as stated by Lydia Sprauve?

As I sat in the theater pondering these questions I find myself battling between good and evil; between wrong and right; between the “Christian” thing to do, and the heroic thing to do.   Forget that, WWJD (“What Would Jesus Do?)!!

This courtroom drama was given an American spin by the Tony Award-winning director Gregory Mosher with permission from Ferdinand von Schirach.  It ran from January 26th through February 19th, in a production by Miami New Drama at Miami Beach’s Colony Theatre.

In this play the whole audience is the jury voting at the end of the play to decide whether the pilot is innocent or guilty.

The storyline is this, a female defendant, Air Force pilot Lt. Diana Salazar (Mia Maestro), who was born in Puerto Rico and raised in Tennessee.

She was order not to shoot down a hijacked commercial airplane with a Sidewinder missile.  The military believed the plane was headed for a crowd of 50,000 people watching an Atlanta Braves game at Turner Field in Atlanta.

However, she defied military orders and shot down the plane killing all 164 passengers on board.  It is presumed that the trial we are watching occurred in Florida.

Mia did a great job in this role.  I was amazed at Lt. Salazar’s dignified, insouciant attitude and composure during the proceedings.  Even though these are good traits to have as military personnel, as a human in one of the most moral decisions of her life, and as woman I expected more emotions.  Also, considering that she was on trial for murder, at risk of losing her job and possibly her family, Lt. Salazar held it down!

Maria Tucci, a Tony-nominated actress, portrayed the judge.  I was surprised to see that she was not in a robe considering that in America judges wear robes.

Actually, several things were different from an actual court proceeding, for example, the whole audience (approximately 200 people) were part of the jury.   In America we have 6-12 people on the jury.  The bailiff sat in the back behind the main characters as opposed to next to the judge.  Anyway is it was a made for drama play, I can understand that.

Cast of Terror
Tony Award nominee Pascale Armand, the Prosecutor (standing), Peter Romano, Defense Attorney, Gregg Weiner, Col. Charles Brook, Officer and Mrs. Meiser (Rita Joe) the angry widow (seated)

Tony Award nominee Pascale Armand played Ms. Nelson, the prosecutor.  I was impressed as she recited her lines and several reasons why we should judge Ms. Salazar as guilty.  As a woman from the Caribbean it was refreshing to see a Haitian-American cast in a role of dominance, class, and prestige.  She did a remarkable job!

To my amazement Mr. Bigler, played by Peter Romano, the defense attorney presented an unruffled tone.  I expected him to defend his client more.  In my opinion, he did nothing to help his case.  It appeared to me that it didn’t matter what happened in the case it could go either way and he was fine with it.

Gregg Weiner, who is a Carbonell Award winner and from South Florida, plays Col. Charles Brook, he is the officer on duty when Ms. Salazar defiled orders.  As a witness in the case, he laid out the out facts of the case when questioned by the judge.  He and Ms. Salazar played their military role with such precision that I believed that they were actually officers in the military.

Other cast members included Gabriel Bonilla, the court officer who is also from Florida and Mrs. Meiser (Rita Joe) the angry widow of one of the passengers on the Delta flight.

I was almost brought to tears when Mrs. Meiser was on the witness stand and she gave her accounts of the fated day.

Mrs. Meiser described going to the airport and waiting for her husband.  She told of him texting her to tell her what was going on the plane.  She then explained telling this to airport personnel and her experience of how she was treated while waiting to hear from her husband and official word from the airlines.

The passion, hurt, and anger in her made the audience; I believe swing to her side to some extent.  Everyone in the audience I believe felt where she was coming from.  Her performance was so believable one would wonder where she drew all the pain, anger, and hurt from.

Overall I enjoyed the play and we found Lt. Salazar not guilty by a hundred and something votes.

Directory Gregory Mosher brought an interesting spin to the theater.  Anyone of us could be placed in this position at any point and time.  The two Blacks in the play did us proud.  It’s too bad I went to see it on closing day.  I would recommend anyone who can, go see it.  It is well written and well done.  You would have gotten your money’s worth.

South Florida Caribbean News

The SFLCN.com Team provides news and information for the Caribbean-American community in South Florida and beyond.

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