PCHS will present “The Exonerated” as One-Act Play

Monday, December 7th, 2009 at 6:17 am

Pine City High School has announced its selection for the Minnesota State High School League’s One-Act Play competition, a dramatic true story called “The Exonerated.”  Written by playwrights Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen, the play tells the dramatic true story of several individuals who were accused and convicted of crimes they never committed.  After spending years in prison and on death row, the exonerated were finally proven innocent through scientific advances like DNA testing.

The play is told in the words of the exonerated themselves – collected in a year-long project where the authors traveled the country talking to dozens of former death row inmates who endured prison for up to two decades for crimes they never committed.

The play’s director will be Brad Mariska, who has led Pine City to Sections two years running.  “This play is truly powerful,” says Mariska.  “It tells the story of people like Sunny Jacobs, who went to prison for murder in 1976.   At the time, her son was 9 years old and her daughter, 10 months, was still nursing.  Sunny was finally released from prison in 1992 – her son had a child of his own and her daughter was a 16-year old
stranger.  And Sunny was innocent the whole time.  She was wrongly-accused, wrongly-convicted, and it took 16 years to get it right.  Her life was destroyed.”

“The Exonerated” premiered in Los Angeles in 2002.  The performance received rave reviews and transferred to New York where it won The Drama Desk Award and Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Play.  Both Time Magazine and the New York Times named it one of the best new plays of 2002.  A film adaptation was made in 2005 starring Brian Dennehy, Danny Glover, and Susan Sarandon.

Pine City is looking to defend their Sub-Section Championship at Sub-Section Festival on Saturday, January 30, here in Pine City.  There will also be a public performance on Friday, January 29 at 7:30pm in the Elementary Auditorium.  Tickets are $4 for adults and $3 for students and will be available at the door.

Casting for the show will be announced next week.

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