'What effect does it have on an innocent person to have their freedom and self-respect stripped away and then, ostensibly, returned years later after decades of incarceration?"

This is the question posed by director Sheri Grace Wenger of Midtown Productions as she explains her latest production.

"Culled from interviews, letters, transcripts, case files and the public record, 'The Exonerated' tells the stories of six wrongfully convicted survivors of death row in their own words. The true, breath-taking stories are presented in first-person monologues and scenes, set in courtrooms and prisons. The six perfectly interwoven stories paint a picture of an American criminal justice system gone wrong, and of six brave souls who persevered to survive it," she says.

This poignant production began in 2000 with married authors Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen, who decided to travel across the country and interview 40 death row prisoners who had been sentenced to death and spent somewhere between 2 and 22 years each in prison, only to be found not guilty and then eventually freed by the authorities.

This award-wining play focuses on how the suppression of facts sentenced people to their deaths. It won the Champion of Justice Award from the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the first time this award had been given to a theatrical production.

" 'The Exonerated' is composed of dialogues, monologues and group segments - filled with irony, self-doubt and humor - and presented by an all-star cast of 11 of the Lowcountry's finest actors who will portray 39 different characters throughout the 80-minute, intermission-less play," Wenger says.

Expect to see performances by locals Edie Allen, Keith Alston, Dana DeMartino, Domonique Henry, Fred Hutter, David Loar, Maurice McPherson, Margaret Nyland, Michele Powe, Brad Tarr, Brian Turner and Adolphus Williams.

Performances will be put on at the Charleston Acting Studio at 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, Aug. 28-30 and Sept. 4-6, with one Sunday matinee set for 3 p.m. Sept. 7. Tickets are $20 for adults, $18 for seniors and $16 for students, with $8 student rush tickets available 10 minutes prior to showtimes, if available. The Charleston Acting Studio is at 915 Folly Road on James Island.

For more, call 795-2223 or go to www.midtownproductions.org.

Lulie Wallace exhibit

Locals love artist Lulie Wallace and the Mixson Bath & Racquet Club, so why not pair the two and make everyone happy with a pop-up art show complete with bites from MB&RC chef Bryan Cates.

On Thursday from 5-8 p.m., enjoy this free event featuring Wallace's latest collection of works called "SPREAD: A Collection of Tablescapes," which will be hung throughout the cabanas. Wallace's works are quite recognizable with her signature bold colors and expressionistic manner.

"The exhibit will be hung throughout MB&RC's cabanas and will feature colorful variations of tablescapes, featuring scenes of breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert," the artist explains. "Mixson is the ideal space for this exhibit as the open spaces, upbeat design aesthetic and love for all things culinary pair perfectly with this collection."

The hors d'oeuvres by Cates are being created specifically to complement the theme of the artwork, which is all about colorful, edible yumminess.

The Mixson Bath & Racquet Club is at 4401 McCarthy St. in North Charleston. While Mixson is typically a members-only facility, this event is free and open to the public.

For more information, call 471-1920 or go to www.luliewallace.com.