The performance is sponsored by SAVVY! (Students Against VViolence, Yes!), the Vermillion Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the W. O. Farber Center for Civic Leadership, St. Thomas More Newman Center, the Advocacy Coordinating Team (ACT), the South Dakota Peace and Justice Center, the Department of Political Science, the Criminal Justice Studies Program, the Criminal Justice Club and private donors.
Written and performed by Carnes, Last Words is a 75-minute original play based on the final thoughts emanating from the hearts and minds of America's executed. The live performance incorporates an anthology of words, stories and emotions punctuated by a diverse collection of actual last word testimony from various death row inmates. The audience acts as jury to determine the sentence of one man as he prepares to walk the edge and echo the voices of many who have faced the death penalty. Carnes has been performing Last Words across the country in colleges and universities since its debut in Providence, RI, in 2002.
Research shows people who commit heinous crimes have often been brutally victimized in their own families. Given the debate surrounding Elijah Page, 24, who is currently awaiting execution for having brutally tortured and murdered a young South Dakotan in 2000, an opportunity to carefully consider the short- and long-term effects of violence within families is of great importance.
Carnes' performance enables the audience to discover how an individual who commits such an egregious crime has been shaped by past social interactions, cultural influences and environmental factors. While his work does not excuse the horror of the crime, Carnes invites his audience to consider the enormous human cost to a child of being scorned, humiliated, devalued and brutalized by family members.
A discussion lead by a panel and Carnes immediately follows the performance. Tickets will be sold at the door or through SAVVY!. Prices are $8 for general admission, $6 for seniors and $4 for students. For moreinformation, call 605-677-5709 or email Lila.Rucker@usd.edu.