My name is Richkard Saint-Victor.
I am a senior theatre major and I am portraying Robert E. Hayes in the upcoming IU Theatre production of The Exonerated.
This play tells the story of six people convicted of crimes, which they did not commit, who were wrongfully incarcerated and put on death row. On my first reading of the play, I thought, “What did you do to get here?” However, after reading the research provided by our dramaturg, it became apparent to me that these events are not unique, and occur more often than one would imagine. In this play, we witness just how dysfunctional the American criminal justice system is.
“If it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone”- Kerry Max Cook.
These were the words that echoed in my head after the first table reading. I could not help but wonder how much these characters’ stories could be my own. We all understand the experience of being at the wrong place at the wrong time. This can be seen in the many cases in which others were wrongfully convicted of crimes. Robert Hayes is a man who spends 7.5 years in prison, yet finds humor in his situation. This humor is an extension of an awareness of his place in society. To me, Robert is a comedian, in his own right. Whether he is laughing in pleasure, or laughing to hide his pain, Robert’s one-liners gives an insight into the character.