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Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen

Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen

Join us on Thursday, December 1, 2016 at 5:30 p.m. in the Neal Marshall Bridgwater's Lounge for An Evening with the Playwrights of The Exonerated, Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen. The lecture is free and open to the public. We ask attendees to arrive by 5:15 to guarantee a good seat.

The Indiana University Department of Theatre, Drama, and Contemporary Dance presents an incredible opportunity for IU faculty, staff, and students; as well as members of the Bloomington community to hear from two gifted theatre artists who have woven political activism with dramatic storytelling.

This special appearance by Ms. Blank and Mr. Jensesn takes place at 5:30 p.m., Thursday, December 1, in the Neal Marshall Black Culture Center's Bridgwater's Lounge. The event is free and open to the public. Seating is limited so please try to arrive early.

Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen

Jessica Blank is an actress, playwright, novelist and political organizer from Washington, D.C. After graduating from college in Minnesota, she moved to New York. She continues to act onstage, in film and in television. She has published two novels with Hyperion, Almost Home and Karma for Beginners.

Erik Jensen is an actor and playwright from Minnesota. He graduated from Carnegie Mellon and met Blank while acting in New York. He recently appeared alongside Aasif Mandvi in Ayad Akhtar's Pulitzer Prize-winning play Disgraced at Lincoln Center in 2012. He's also had recurring roles in CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and The Walking Dead.

The Exonerated was both Blank and Jensen's first play. They started writing The Exonerated in 2000. Blank and Jensen travelled across the country to interview dozens of former death row inmates, getting engaged and married along the way.

In its earliest incarnations, The Exonerated featured a cast of 12 exonerees. It first ran off-Broadway at the Culture Project in 2002. The nearly two-year run played as a series of staged readings with a rotating cast of high profile actors like Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins, J.K. Simmons, Steve Buscemi and Cherry Jones. The Exonerated was adapted into a television film in 2005. It was revived for a two-month run, again at the Culture Project, in 2012.

In December 2002, The Exonerated played for a single night at the Chicago Center for the Performing Arts before a crowd that included Illinois Governor George Ryan, weeks before he commuted the sentences of Illinois' 167 death row inmates to life in prison.

Blank and Jensen's subsequent venture into documentary theater was Aftermath, produced at the New York Theatre Workshop in 2009. Like The Exonerated, it's constructed from interviews, this time with Iraqi exiles.

Most recently, Blank and Jensen wrote the one-man play How to Be a Rock Critic. Blank directed Jensen as legendary Rolling Stone critic Lester Bangs.