The Trial tells a story of a transgender woman as she returns to the town she grew up in. It delivers a powerful message of acceptance and progression in a world which must never grow indifferent to hearing it, as Inês Sampaio, the storyteller, points out.
One of The Trial's strengths is in asking the audience to come up with solutions
I urge you not to imagine that this is a topic you've heard a lot about in recent years, because this manifestation of it is unique and undoubtably brings new ideas to the table. One of The Trial's strengths is in asking the audience to come up with a verdict at the end of the play, acting in the role of a jury. Despite being separated into smaller groups to make this decision (the specifics of which I'll let you discover), the room came to an almost unanimous agreement in regards to the verdict. The success of this must be attributed to Sampaio's skilful narration. By incorporating a number of atmospheric songs within the monologue, she is able to convey her point without ever spelling it out or making it feel like a lecture.
The musical interludes are neatly woven into the performance and constructed on stage via the creative use of a loop station pedal, several instruments and harmonising vocals. This is not the only instance of metatheatre, however, with Sampaio frequently addressing the audience directly, and slipping out of character to do so. Her necessarily jumps between characters require their portrayals to be closer to caricatures than anything else, but this only serves to add to the air of universal relevance. It also assists in holding the whole play together from the perspective of Sampaio's most prominent and sincere persona, seemingly representing herself within the story.
As the only performer, with a complicated and multi-faceted story to tell, Sampaio does a remarkable job, carving from the familiarly harrowing events it deals with a new, and very important, poignancy.