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1987 Reviews for Malice Aforethought: The Sweet Trials

Lawrence DeVine's Review

"One play -- Arthur Beer's "Malice Aforethought: The Sweet Trials," coming up in November at the Theatre Company -- actually illustrates at least three admirable things about the new season: Beer's new show is original and topical, and it pays attention to the converns of audiences for black theater. (Those audiences, incidentally, often are predominatly white. That clearly was so with turnouts last eason at the prize-winning Attic Theatre shows, both by black authors, "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" and "Back in the World..")

At first glance, the 1987-1988 season is about as slow
as it can get ... [Read more]

1987 review courtesy of Detroit Free Press

[...]
"NO ONE has seen Art Beer's "Malice Aforethought." But you will wonder why no one wrote it before. For example, everyone recalls "Inherit the Wind" -- famous story, courtroom drama, Clarence Darrow. Beer's "Malice Afroethought" is also about Clarence Darrow -- famous story, courtroom drama, in Detroit.

For those reasons, Beer's show is pre-eminent among the new works in the 1987-88 schedule. The story, known to many a Detroiter, is he 1925 murder trial of a black doctor, Dr. Ossian Sweet. He was accused of murder for firing into a crowd of whites menacing his family and the home he had bought in a white neighborhood. Darrow defended him, and the verict has become a famous one, and the potential is rich. Beer himself is playing Darrow. the could be the next "Rosary Murders." [Read more]

-- Detroit Free Press, Sunday, October 4, 1987

1987 review courtesy of Detroit Free Press

"Beer's drama, "Malice Aforethought: The Sweet Trials," replays what the tirply talented writer, director and actor says 'certainly is Michigan's greatest trial. There's a plaque in the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice that commemorates it. This trial set the precedent, the precendent of warning mobs that they could not get away with restrictiing black people and black districts by force.' [...]

"...which opens Friday at the Theatre Company, 8425 W. McNichols Rd. on the Marygove College campus, is one of the two original and prominent plays premiering in Detroit within three weeks of each other. The coincidental similarities are striking: Each is a courtroom drama, each has a Detroit angel, each was written by a 40-ish senior member of the theater that is producing it and each one has a flamboyant central character. [Read more...]

1987 review courtesy of Detroit Free Press

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1987 Performance
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