By Matthew Blank
03 Dec 2012
2012 marks the 10th anniversary of Culture Project’s premiere of The Exonerated, a "ground breaking dramatization of the real-life stories of six individuals who were sentenced to death and later freed amidst overwhelming evidence of their innocence," according to press notes. It is billed as "a powerful play culled from interviews, letters, transcripts, case files and court records of individuals on death row. As timely as ever, The Exonerated is once again poised to increase visibility and to create a sense of urgency as part of a rising movement to restore justice to a system that has shown itself time and again to be deeply flawed."
Since 1989, when the first DNA exoneration took place, an additional 292 post-conviction DNA exonerations have been won in 36 states.
"When authors Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen — newly in love and wildly enthusiastic — first approached me with their idea for The Exonerated I got chills," Allan Buchman, Culture Project founder and artistic director, said in a previous statement. "It occurred to me then that ideas like theirs were the reason to have a theatre. There are 2.4 million people in the American prison system — a population that is all but invisible to the general public. The Exonerated, with its narrative of struggle courage and hope, sheds crucial light on elements of our criminal justice system that must be changed. I believe that work this compelling can absolutely spur seismic and vital social change. Yes, this is the reason to have a theater, and how lucky for us that we have our theater back!"
The Exonerated premiered at Culture Project in October 2002 when it received critical acclaim and ran for over 600 performances.