CityNews – On Thursday, March 9th 2017 the curtain rose at Kad Theater (Kad Suan Kaew) for the opening performance of The Gate Theater Group production of “The Exonerated” written by Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen and directed by Gate founder Stephan Turner.
The Exonerated, one of The Gate’s most successful productions, is a play featuring the real life stories of people wrongly accused of murder and put on death row in the United States. The story of six average Americans that reveals a very disturbing pattern within the judicial system. The writers received the Champion of Justice Award from the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers for their script.
The production had a strong effect on the actors as well as the audience. Ann Fink who appears in the role of Sunny says, “I was shocked! I never knew! I told my daughter, “if you get picked up by the police, never, never say anything. Call a lawyer. There’s nothing you can say to them that would help your case.””
Marie Frederickson, also a member of The Gate wrote in a review, “…a spare and dark stage setting. Strikingly dramatic lighting and a background music score that added even more to the storytelling atmosphere, Stephan and the cast shared their vision of injustice in the US legal system with the audience for an all too quick 90 minutes”.
Along the way “The Exonerated” came to the attention of Bruce A. Lasky, co-founder of BABSEACLE and Lanna Lawyers, the brother of Gate Theater member Arnold Lasky who plays “The Judge”. Bruce is a former legal aid criminal defense lawyer who feels it’s the legal profession’s obligation to seek justice and “exonerate” the mistakenly convicted.
Upon hearing about our production Bruce immediately felt The Exonerated was a perfect match with BABSEACLE, which is an access to justice, legal education not-for-profit organisation, focusing on raising awareness and assisting marginalised and vulnerable persons and communities to achieve greater access to justice throughout Asia and globally.
Issues of both over- and under-criminalization are one of BABSEACLE’s core focuses, and this includes both the death penalty and those wrongly convicted.
Bruce is also a partner at the law firm Lanna Lawyers, a Chiang Mai firm with both an Expat Specialist and strong pro bono focus. Bruce and the firm’s other partners felt that supporting a production like The Exonerated is one of the many things a law firm can and should do to get the message of justice issues out there and to support the community it is here to serve. Like BABSEACLE, Lanna Lawyers saw this as a clear fit with its mission as a law firm.
BABSEACLE and Lanna Lawyers insisted on helping The Gate Group bring back the show. It harmonises with the BABSEACLE annual Asia Access to Justice Week (January 15th – 21st, 2018) in Chiang Mai.
BABSEACLE and Lanna Lawyers agreed to sponsor a special production of The Exonerated from 18th-21st January 2018 and since they both have a commitment to equality and education they want this exceptional show open to the public.
The Gate Theater Group
Central Kad Suan Kaew Shopping Mall, Chiang Mai
Tel. 087 177 2195
Facebook: The Gate Theater
41/1 Soi 1 Sirorot Road, Suthep, Muang, Chiang Mai 50200
298/15 Moo 5 Soi 28 Chottana Road,
Don Kaeo, Mae Rim Chiang Mai 50180