Six compelling stories about death row survivors offered in Theatre Oxford’s production of The Exonerated
Published 2:05 pm Monday, September 4, 2023
Sixty-year-old Delbert Tibbs is an old soul from Chicago, a seminary dropout, military veteran, radical, poet, and death row survivor. He’s also a Black man who happened to be on a highway near a small Florida town soon after a man was killed and young woman raped. Both were white. Enough reason for the cops to arrest him.
“This is not the place for thought that does not end in concreteness,” narrator Delbert Tibbs tells us in The Exonerated. “It is dangerous to dwell too much on things. To wonder who or why or when, to wonder how, is dangerous. How do we, the people, get outta this hole, what’s the way to fight?”
Delbert Tibbs’ story is one of a half-dozen told in Theatre Oxford’s production of The Exonerated at the Powerhouse Arts Center Saturday, September 8, at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, September 9, at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. A panel discussion by Tucker Carrington, the founding director of the Mississippi Innocence Project, and Cliff Johnson, the director of the MacArthur Justice Center, will follow both evening productions.
The production is made possible by the support of Frye | Reeves Attorneys at Law, the Mississippi Arts Commission, and Yoknapatawpha Arts Council.
Authored by Jessica Blank and Erik Jenson, The Exonerated shares true stories of wrongfully convicted survivors of death row. Directing the Theatre Oxford production is theatre veteran Felipe Esteban Macias.
The stories tell of resilience and faith and post-traumatic stress. They range from racially motivated arrests and convictions to a hippie falsely accused of murdering his parents to a mother who innocently catches a ride with a driver who will kill two police officers before the ride is over.
“We have six wonderful stories wrapped up in one play,” Macias says about The Exonerated.
Taken from interviews, letters, transcripts, case files, and public records, the stories offer sobering insights into the nation’s criminal justice system and capital punishment. The Exonerated won the 2003 Drama Desk and Outer Critic’s Awards and also received the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers’ Champion of Justice Award.
Tickets will be available at the door and seats can be reserved at https://oxfordarts.com/theatreoxford.
The Powerhouse is located at 413 South 14th Street in Oxford (on the corner of University Avenue). Parking is in back near the water tower. To learn more about Theatre Oxford, visit our website (theatreoxford.org) or follow us on social media (@theatreoxford).