BY JESSICA BLANK and ERIK JENSEN
NEXT ACT THEATRE
This is an evening of true stories – dramatic accounts of six Americans who were wrongfully imprisoned, sentenced to death and later exonerated. The play was built from their actual words, and those words resound in the gap between their reality and the dream of liberty and justice for all.
It’s also an evening of empowerment – because in telling their stories “the Exonerated” become more than victims of injustice. They reclaim their voices, their self-definition and dignity. It doesn’t change the past, but it changes the present. For a moment, at least, the act of telling their truth brings a kind of transcendence.
And finally, this is an evening to celebrate a new home for Next Act. From now on, this is a place for truth-telling and dream sharing, for stories that resound and moments of transcendence.
"Director Edward Morgan frees his ensemble from the folding chairs, animating the stage with movement. The use of various stage areas and platforms keeps the narrative clear and allows the actors to fully inhabit their characters. It makes the stories come alive… Morgan keeps the performances understated, letting the events register without histrionics.”
– Milwaukee Magazine
“Director Edward Morgan and Next Act’s stellar 10-actor cast…recognize that this inherently dramatic material doesn’t need embellishment...As the condemned tell their tales, they gradually transform the space they occupy. Speaking the play’s first line, Delbert describes a place of concrete, and Morgan’s opening gambit has the cast spill into and size up their new home much like rats measuring a cage.”
– Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“Next Act’s production features strong performances from everyone in the cast…The Exonerated is a striking collage of stories. Director Edward Morgan turns what could have felt like a random assemblage of elements into a well-orchestrated show.”
– Shepherd Express
“The cast did well; the acting disappeared, surely the goal of director Edward Morgan.”
– Third Coast Digest
Lights: Jason Fassl
Costumes: Marcia Kuligowski
Set: David Cecsarini & Edward Morgan
Sound: David Cescarini