‘The Exonerated’ Comes to University Theatre
There’s only one way to get off death row — exoneration. “The Exonerated” is a play produced and put on by the University Theatre for its Studio Series. It will only be performed during the University Theatre’s Studio Series as opposed to its regular season. The show will be performed Oct. 28 to 31 at the Nadine Baum Studios on West Spring Street. All shows begin at 8 p.m.
The production consists of a much more stripped-down set and appearance than its more elaborate counterparts. Essentially, the more technical aspects of the show are taken away, allowing the actors to test different techniques while also allowing the audience to experience a more intimate production, according to theater officials.
“The Exonerated,” locally directed by Morgan Hicks and originally written by Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen, is the story of six Americans who were placed on death row and eventually proven not guilty after wrongful imprisonment. Blank and Jensen utilized personal interviews and testimonies as well as courtroom interviews to collect and tell the story of the six individuals.
“The Exonerated” in an award-winning show that “discloses the magnitude of human judgment and reinforces the inestimable value of the one life we have each been given,” according to the play’s press release.
Debbie Banos, a graduate student actress, believes the play is something that can be appreciated by all audience members due to its overarching themes of humankind.
“This story is about hope, compassion and forgiveness,” Banos said. “Even though these people went through impossible circumstances, they have somehow forgiven. Sunny Jacobs, the character I will be portraying, says, ‘I want to be a living memorial … and that’s my revenge. That’s my legacy.’”
Hicks believes that University Theatre is fortunate to have the support of Nadine Baum Studios for productions like this.
“The Walton Arts Center has provided a wonderful performance venue for this play,” Hicks said.
“The Exonerated” was selected as the best play of 2002 by The New York Times and is described as “stark, riveting, and cunningly orchestrated” by The New Yorker.
Emily Harvey, senior English major, said it’s important for students and other members of the UA to take advantage of productions such as this.
“This play is widely acclaimed, and it’s being performed right off campus,” Harvey said. “Going to see it is not only a great way to support the local arts and our drama department but is also a good way to become familiar with some of the great literature of our time.”
Campus parking is available in the Stadium Drive parking facility, where parking is free after 5 p.m. Paid parking near Nadine Baum Studios can be found in the lots on West Avenue, Spring Street and School Avenue. Admission is free.