A play seeking to shed light on the restorative justice process opens tonight at the First Metropolitan United Church.
Tough Case, written by Toronto's David S. Craig, centres on Nessa, a restorative justice worker who grew up in a housing project, and Dane, a 16-year-old young offender who has vandalized the home of an elderly widow alongside other offenders.
"They've done things like written 'Death' on the walls and scratched out the eyes in her photo-graphs, so it's been traumatic for her," said Diana Keating, who directs the Victoria cast. "The restorative justice people get involved and there is ultimately a meeting between the young offender, the woman whose property has been damaged, and their communities."
Tough Case is presented as part of Restorative Justice Week in Victoria in partnership with Victoria's Restorative Justice Society. It was originally commissioned by the Nova Scotia Restorative Justice Community Research Association.
Restorative justice is a process addressing the needs of people impacted by crime and conflict, which involves the communities of both victims and offenders. The play is an opportunity to show audiences that model in operation, Keating said.
"I think it's an attempt to address some of the questions that people might have about the restorative justice process, like, is it an easy way out for criminals? Do the people who were damaged ultimately have to forgive the person who has damaged them in some way? And does it replace the court sys-tem?" she said. "All those questions are addressed in the play."
The cast includes Todd Glover, Paulina Grainger, Kathy Macovichuk, Margaret MacQuarrie, Judith McDowell and Corin Wrigley. Max Terpstra is the technical director and sound designer. A volunteer from the Restorative Justice Society will also give a brief presentation of the differences between restorative justice in the play and what it's like in practice.
The show starts at 8 p.m. and a suggested donation of $5 will be collected at the door.
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