By Chad L. Hutchison

Sometimes innocent people are found guilty of crimes they never committed. Sometimes they are exonerated of their crimes. The Theatre Department is putting on a production about such occurances at 8 p.m., April 19-22 in the Gifford Theatre. Student tickets cost $6.

I asked “The Exonerated” Director Jim Moreton a few questions about the production. Here is what he had to say:

Q. What is the plot and themes behind The Exonerated?

Moreton: There really is not a traditional plot to “The Exonerated.”

It is a docudrama taken from personal interviews, court transcripts and police records of the real-life experiences of six ordinary people who were wrongfully convicted of murder and are ultimately exonerated.

It deals with a justice system which is in need of careful attention. It deals with the problems with a system that doesn’t always work the way we envision it does.

Q. What are some of the feelings the audience should walk away having after seeing this production?

Moreton: Hopefully, the audience will come to understand that these people’s lives have been altered immeasurably.

Although exonerated, their lives will never be the same and we owe them understanding, help and attention to the system that abused them. Although very serious in subject matter, the show is ultimately hopeful because all of the six exonerated individuals have survived and are leading happy, productive lives.

Q. Is the production running smoothly? Explain?

Moreton: Rehearsals are going well. I have never worked with a cast that is as hard-working and dedicated to doing a piece justice.

This non-traditional sort of theatre piece really puts a lot of responsibility on the actors because there is very little set, very normal clothing as costumes and little movement.

It is all about the actors connecting with their audience, which is really the heart of every show; this one just doesn’t have the “spectacle” that we all have become accustomed to.

Q. What would you say to the Eastern community to get it to show up in force?

Moreton: I really don’t know what to say. It will be a different sort of show than most, if not all, of our audience has ever seen.

The show has a genuine social conscience, and it really says something we should all listen to.

Q. Is there anything in particular you yourself would like to say about the production or anything surrounding it?

Moreton: This show was created by two actors who initiated a series of interviews to look into this situation. They are very aware of the problems and donate a portion of their royalties to the national Exonerated Fund. The show’s original producers began a tradition of accepting contributions from audiences for the same fund, and EKU Theatre will continue this tradition.

Moreton also warned that since this is a production dealing with sensitive social issues, the show is for a mature adult audience.

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