“Prima Facie,” a searing new play on Broadway, is a few high-flying lady whose vitality and confidence is taken from her twice, first when she’s raped by a colleague, Julian, after which when she tries to hunt justice. Jodie Comer — Villanelle on the cult TV present “Killing Eve” — performs Tessa, a swaggering self-made British barrister who typically defends males accused of sexual assault, earlier than she’s assaulted herself and finally ends up on the opposite aspect of the authorized course of. The story is schematic and the script, by the tip, turns didactic, however Comer’s blazing, magnificent efficiency elevates the present into greatness. She makes you’re feeling viscerally each Tessa’s extraordinary life pressure, and the leeching of it.
I saved eager about “Prima Facie” as I sat within the Manhattan courtroom the place E. Jean Carroll is suing Donald Trump for battery and defamation stemming from a rape that she alleges occurred within the mid-Nineties. The barrister defending Tessa’s rapist accuses her of constructing up the assault due to knowledgeable vendetta. He suggests she might have screamed, and makes use of her fragmented recollections to make her appear dishonest or unreliable. “The lived expertise of sexual assault just isn’t remembered in a neat, constant, scientific parcel,” Tessa says. “And due to that, the regulation typically finds the proof ‘unbelievable.’”
We don’t but know what the regulation will discover in Carroll’s case. Each side rested on Thursday — the Trump camp declined to name a single witness — and shutting arguments are scheduled for Monday. I’m, frankly, a bit of nervous, not as a result of I doubt Carroll and people testifying on her behalf, however as a result of I do not know what the jury, which consists of six males and three girls, will make of the witnesses and their decades-old recollections. No matter occurs, the few days I’ve been in court docket have underlined to me what an ordeal this should be for Carroll and among the different witnesses, their lives splayed open for public consumption, each seeming inconsistency of their recollections or conduct exploited. Irrespective of how a lot you hate Trump, this isn’t enjoyable for anybody.
Hatred of Trump is a significant theme for Trump’s pit bull legal professional, Joe Tacopina. Two of Carroll’s mates, Lisa Birnbach and Carol Martin, testified that Carroll advised them that Trump had assaulted her shortly after it occurred. Each have the identical emotions about Trump as nearly each New York Metropolis lady I do know, which is to say they detest him; Birnbach as soon as in contrast him to an “an infection like herpes.” Tacopina, who has entry to years of their emails and textual content messages, has tried to make use of their resistance politics in opposition to them, implying that they cooked up a plot to border the ex-president.