In a few small theaters across the country, a quiet conversation about the death penalty is taking place. Actors on a sparsely-set stage with cell block lighting read lines from a play called The Exonerated. It’s theater, and it’s fact.
The Exonerated pieces together extracts of interviews with six former death row inmates who served time for someone else’s crime. Ordinary people caught in a nightmare where justice and jurisprudence didn’t see eye to eye. It’s their eloquence that gives the low-tech production its power. “I’m no different from you,” one character says. “I wasn’t a street thug, I wasn’t trash, I came from a good family, if it happened to me, man, it can happen to anyone.” That man, Kerry Max Cook, spent 22 years on death row.
Kerry Max Cook, former death row inmate
Jessica Blank and Eric Jensen, playwrights and authors of “The Exonerated”