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‘Exonerated’ at GSU: A captivating success!

Chris Weber
Professor Patrick Santoro addresses the crowd at “Exonerated” before students take the stage.

By Chris Weber, Phoenix staff writer

The Gov State Theater and Performance Study department’s rendition of “Exonerated” was a profound experience that left audiences not just moved but deeply empathetic and enlightened.

The play ran from April 4 to 7 under the direction of Dr. Patrick Santoro. The production brought the heart-wrenching narratives of six wrongfully convicted survivors of death row back to life once again. GSU students depicted their stories with raw honesty and authenticity.

The set design was minimalistic yet effective. Creative lighting cast silhouettes on a versatile backdrop that seamlessly transitioned between the varied stories shared on stage. This simple design allowed the cast’s powerful performances to shine brightly, capturing the characters’ emotional depth and resilience.

All members of the cast delivered outstanding performances, but Marquis Parks and My’Anna Purdue were particularly noteworthy. With a nuanced delivery ranging from despair to hope, they captured the complex emotions of the wrongfully convicted with compelling depth.

The script of “Exonerated,” written by Jessica Blank and Eric Jenson, was well balanced between intense monologues and lighter, hopeful moments. Despite a long run time with no intermission, the pace ensured the audience was engaged but not overwhelmed. The performance encouraged a deep connection to the material.

“Exonerated” is an important commentary on the criminal justice system’s flaws and the resilience humans can show when put in tough positions. The Gov State production of the play entertained and educated the audience. While the main goal of the performance was to leave a lasting impact on the minds of the audience, the actors also encouraged donations from the crowd that would support wrongfully imprisoned people.

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