Play - The Exonerated

The Exonerated

We were lucky enough to see The Exonerated at Riverside Studios in Hammersmith tonight. It was one of the most incredible stories I have ever heard. It is the true life stories of six completely innocent people held for huge parts of their lives on ‘death row’ only to be released later. All the words were taken from interview and court transcripts.

The play is minimalist, with all the actors simply reading from tall chairs with spotlights to highlight the transition of voices. The stories interweave and the actors often play the parts of other people. The power and eloquence of the narrative is compelling and the acting was perfect. There were no overt messages about the US justice system or about the death penalty – it didn’t need it. The stories laid plain the fact that in the case of high profile murders, the police and prosecutors will often do ‘whatever it takes’ to make people feel that the case is solved, even if it means killing innocent, but down and out people.

Most of the players where actors, some celebrities, we had Delroy Lindo and Adain Quinn, but the others were equally good. One person was playing herself, Sunny Jacobs, whose partner was murdered, even after the true killer confessed.

I was a powerful statement against quick justice and the death penalty itself. Killing one innocent person by mistake isn’t worth the benefits of having the threat of death.