Best Theatrical Politics (2007)

The Exonerated

This theater piece, put together by Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen, is about six innocent people who spent anywhere from two to 21 years on death row and were then released. The most unsettling case is that of Sunny Jacobs, who, along with her husband, Jesse Tafero, was found guilty of the killing of two police officers and spent sixteen years on death row. Tafero suffered a hideously bungled execution in 1990; Sunny was released two years later. There were some very strong performances in the OpenStage production, and also a couple that were less polished but touching and effective in their naturalism. Theater has historically been a forum for political action, and OpenStage should be applauded for rising to the challenge with this thoughtful exploration of an important topic, one that increases in importance with every current diminution of our civil and legal rights.


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