Sept. 22, 2006 -- The University of Wyoming Department of Theatre and Dance opens its 2006-07 season with Tim Robbins' moving drama, "Dead Man Walking," Tuesday, Oct. 3, through Saturday, Oct. 7, at 7:30 p.m. on the Fine Arts Center main stage. A matinee performance will be offered Sunday, Oct. 8, at 2 p.m.
Tickets cost $14 for adults, $11 for senior citizens, and $7 for students. For tickets call the ticket office (307) 766-6666, stop by the Fine Arts Center box office (10 a.m.-4 p.m. weekdays) or go online at www.uwyo.edu/finearts.
"Dead Man Walking" is adapted from Robbins' Academy Award-winning film of the same name based on Sister Helen Prejean's Pulitzer Prize-nominated memoir of her experiences with death row inmates. The play examines the complex issue of capital punishment.
Matt Poncelet is a condemned murderer who cannot admit to his crimes. When he writes a letter to Sister Prejean asking her to serve as his spiritual adviser and advocate, she agrees, but feels overwhelmed by his request. As she fights for Poncelet's life, she also must wrestle with the heinous nature of his crimes and the cries for retribution from the victims' families and the surrounding community.
The play is careful to show both sides of the death penalty issue, notes director Rebecca Hilliker, UW Department of Theatre and Dance head and professor.
"[The play] is so affecting because it makes you care about everyone involved in the process -- from the perpetrator and law enforcement officials, to the victims, their families and the community at large," she says.
The UW production of "Dead Man Walking" is part of the Dead Man Walking School Theatre Project started by Robbins and Prejean to stimulate dialogue on capital punishment.
Coordinating UW events with "Dead Man Walking" include a UW Law School-produced staged reading of "The Exonerated," a hard-hitting docudrama about six wrongfully-convicted survivors of death row, along with a panel discussion.
"The Exonerated" will be read Monday, Oct. 9, at 7:30 p.m. on the Fine Arts Center main stage. Proceeds from tickets, which cost $10, go to the Public Interest Law Fund.
The panel discussion will be Tuesday, Oct. 10, at 7 p.m. in Room 142 of the College of Law building. Taking part will be Kerry Max Cook, one of the survivors depicted in "The Exonerated." Cook served 22 years on Texas' notorious death row for a murder he did not commit. In 1999, DNA testing confirmed Cook's innocence.
"We hope this production, the reading of 'The Exonerated' and the panel discussion will encourage meaningful discourse on this controversial issue," says Hillker.
UW's "Dead Man Walking" is produced in collaboration with Wyoming State Bank and the St. Paul's Newman Center.
Posted on Friday, September 22, 2006