A History of Barred from Life
Shortly after its premiere Barred from Life was presented on May 1st,
2004 at the American Association of Law Schools - Clinical Legal Education
national conference in San Diego. In January 2005 this organization honored
Barred from Life with a special CLEA CREATIVITY AWARD for its approach to
confronting important legal and humanitarian issues and for exemplifying
inter-disciplinary collaboration. Cookie Ridolfi, David J. Popalisky and
John Stoll were present to receive this award at the AALS national convention
at the Hilton Hotel in San Francisco.
Barred from Life premiered at Santa Clara University on
Wednesday, March 31, 2004 to enthusiastic acclaim from over 500 people
over two performances. Created and performed by David J. Popalisky, Assistant
Professor in Dance, in collaboration with Cookie Ridolfi, Director of
the Northern California Innocence Project, this performance work illuminates
the human experience of individuals convicted for crimes they did not
commit. Post performance discussions addressed the critical issues of
wrongful conviction and included Delbert Tibbs and James Newsome, exonerees
from Chicago, additional San Francisco Bay area exonerees, David J. Popalisky
and Cookie Ridolfi. Audience feedback has expressed appreciation for the
emotional and educational impact of the performance in introducing the
issue of wrongful conviction. More importantly Barred from Life
has moved them toward action - pursuing further research and contributing
their time and money to furthering the cause of the Innocence Project.
During the week of the premiere Delbert Tibbs and James Newsome were
joined by Professors Popalisky and Ridolfi in visits to classes, open
forums and student living centers to further engage the university community
in this topic and help process reactions to the performance.
Barred from Life was conceived in the spring of 2002
in a parking lot conversation between Ridolfi and Popalisky after dropping
their boys at school. "While I knew, vaguely, of Cookie's work
on behalf of the wrongfully convicted," said Popalisky, "our
talk unveiled the need to expose this issue to greater public awareness.
It suddenly struck us that a performance work could powerfully illuminate
the tragic human consequences of wrongful conviction."
In the summer of 2003, Popalisky conducted numerous interviews in the
Chicago and San Francisco Bay areas with exonerated individuals who had
spent years in prison, some on death row. "I needed to hear the exonerated
men's stories first hand," said Popalisky, "but more importantly,
to sense their presence as men, most of whom are about my age, who had
survived a special kind of hell." Based on these interviews, Popalisky
created Barred from Life to address the complexity of wrongful
conviction through a combination of media including dance movement, video
imagery, excerpts from interviews with exonerees, and an original score
by True Rosaschi.
Barred from Life was performed on May 1, 2004 in San
Diego at the American Association of Law Schools Clinical Conference.
Once again there was a post performance discussion with a number of
exonerees. After the show, members of the audience expressed interest
in having Barred from Life performed in their communities
around the country. The creators are currently making plans to tour
this work to various cities around the country.
Barred from Life was made possible by the support of
the Bannan Center, Hackworth Faculty grants, a University Research grant,
the SCU Center of Performing Arts, and the Northern California Innocence
Read entire article "Barred
from Life - A Translation in Process" published in Explore magazine,
Bannan Center for Jesuit Education.
Special thanks from Barred from Life.