Dead Man Walking | Piven Theatre | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader
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ZW Photography Chicago

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through May 15 2016
Price: $25-$35
Adapting Sister Helen Prejean’s book and the 1995 movie starring Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins (who directed the film) makes no secret of his opposition to the death penalty. As Louisiana prepares to execute convicted murderer and rapist Matthew Poncelet, Robbins presents capital punishment as cruel, expensive, and unfairly meted out to poor offenders who can’t afford decent lawyers. But Robbins doesn’t let Poncelet off the hook, either, letting us hear from the victims’ families and showing the ambivalence of the prisoner’s spiritual advisor, Prejean. Mikalina Rabinsky’s richly atmospheric staging is anchored by complex and affecting performances from Patricia Lavery as the nun and Jay Reed as the killer. Lavery in particular pulls off the difficult feat of conveying strength through compassion and piety without judgment. —Zac Thompson

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