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Friday, Oct. 22, 2004


Play examines death penalty

"The Exonerated," a play addressing the issue of the death penalty, is currently being presented by Rinko-Gun at Umegaoka Box.

The set consists only of a stage scattered with autumn leaves and a few wooden boxes as props. The characters speak simply yet movingly about their experiences as death-row inmates in U.S. jails. They are inmates whose sentences were eventually overturned.

The play was written by New York-based dramatists Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen and is based on their six weeks of interviews with former death-row inmates. Dealing with a highly charged issue in a restrained yet powerful fashion, the play was voted "Outer Critics Circle's Best Off-Broadway Play" by U.S. critics in 2003.

Complemented by sensitive acting and unsensationalized direction by Rinko-Gun's founder, Yoji Sakate, this production is being staged as Japan prepares to adopt a jury-style trial system five years from now.

"Tokihanatarete (The Exonerated)" runs till Nov. 2 at the Umegaoka Box, a 3-min. walk from Umegaoka Station on the Odakyu Line. It then travels to Nagoya (Nov. 5-8) and Osaka (Nov. 11-14). For more details, call Rinko-Gun at (03) 3426-6294 or visit alles.or.jp/rinkogun

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