PLAY/ground micro-interview with Emilie Beck

EmSeriousShotBoston Court: “Habeas Corpus” allows its audience a view into the many people and concerns surrounding our justice system, and is specifically focused on the death penalty. When researching, what most surprised or moved you and how did these revelations come to influence the piece and its interests?

Emilie: One of the first people I interviewed as I was doing research, was a judge who had just retired from the New York Supreme Court. At the end of our interview, he said he was going to make one request of me, and that was to not make my character on Death Row innocent. Of course, this would have been the most straightforward choice, so if I were to honor that request, I would be thrown off the most seemingly dramatic telling of this story. But his point was that the argument over the death penalty isn’t that someone might be innocent; the root of it is that even the worst of the worst shouldn’t be murdered by the State. I did choose to honor his request, and that meant that instead of a linear plot, this play came to be revealed through a layering of stories, allowing me to compare and contrast, and show the good and the bad in all of us. The result is a spectrum rather than a pointed journey. Not where I thought I was going originally, but a much more satisfying outcome in its complexity.

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