I stepped out on faith and decided to write and direct a play that will be going up at The Complex Hollywood-Dorie Theatre (in Los Angeles) in September. The play is about the life of George Stinney Jr., the 14 year old boy who in 1944 was falsely accused and executed for crimes he did not commit.
George Stinney’s story is not one that we hear about often. It has been buried so deep in American history (like many other’s stories and circumstances) that somehow George Stinney is not a household name. This is not to say that I wrote the play for the sole purpose of making it a household name. However, I did write it because I feel it is important to know stories such as his.
Many people wonder why tell his story now. Why tell his story when times have changed and things are not exactly as they were in 1944. My answer is simple- because his life mattered. Regardless of if the year was 1944 or 2018, his life mattered. George Stinney Jr was somebody to a number of people, all of which were very hurt by the circumstances surrounding his death.
I wrote the play in a way that I hope will allow the audience to see who he was as a person, and not solely focus on him during his time in despair. He was a boy with a personality, quirks, and characteristics-all of which I hope to be able to let the audience see.
Of course we cannot tell his story without talking about what happened to him.
I feel what is important for the audience to understand before seeing the show is the fact that there is a lot left unknown about George Stinney’s case. A lot of court records and other documents that could potentially shed light on the unknown are no longer available. As a result, many are left wondering key details about the case. However, I do not feel that should halt the telling of his story. The story of a 14 year old boy given the death penalty after spending 83 days in jail for a crime he did not commit.
George Stinney Jr was a person-a boy, rather. His life mattered.
1944 will run from Sept 28-Sept 30 at 8pm with 2 shows on the 30th (2pm & 8pm)
@ The Complex Hollywood-Dorie Theatre 6476 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90038