Performances & Events


“The Innocents” featuring Allen Otte and John Lane

Post-performance discussion with the Michigan Innocence Clinic and exoneree Richard Phillips

February 14, 2024 | 7:00 pm

Keene Theater, East Quad, 701 E. University Ave., Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Free - no tickets required

A post-performance discussion will follow with the performers (Allen Otte and John Lane), David Moran, Clinical Professor of Law and co-founder of the Michigan Innocence Clinic, and Richard Phillips, a client of the Michigan Innocence Clinic who was exonerated in 2018 & 2022 after serving 45 years in prison.

The Innocents is social justice advocacy through performance art. The work is an effort to delve deeply into the most current issues surrounding the core subject of wrongful imprisonment and exoneration, as well as a commitment to connect with the communities in which it is performed. The duo has embraced their role as advocates through the realization that their work cuts to the emotional core of the human experience surrounding these issues.

Using a variety of found-object and home-made instruments, electronic soundscapes, and spoken texts, performer-composers John Lane and Allen Otte have devised a one-hour dramatic soundscape comprised of at least seventeen individual tableaus which endeavor to explore various aspects of the issues surrounding wrongful imprisonment and exoneration in the American criminal justice system: mistaken identity, incarceration, injustice, politics, psychology, and resilience.

The texts spoken in the work are derived from a variety of sources: various historic prison diaries/poetry, interrogation transcripts, Google autocomplete, Thomas Jefferson, Jax (a female prisoner in the Oklahoma State Prison system), Mark Godsey (former NY prosecutor, author of Blind Injustice), captured Chicago police scan chatter, among many other sources. In an effort to make their work relevant, each major performance has originally crafted tableaus (texts and or music) that directly resonate with the local communities in which the duo is performing.

Allen Otte came to the University of Cincinnati in 1977 with the Blackearth Percussion Group and in 1979 founded the world-renowned ensemble, Percussion Group Cincinnati. Otte has regularly taught, given master classes, and presented his own creative work—solo and collaborative—throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia.

John Lane is an artist whose creative work and collaborations extend through percussion to poetry/spoken word and theater. As a performer, he has appeared on stages throughout the Americas, Australia, and Japan. He is currently Professor of Percussion at Sam Houston State University. Together they have performed The Innocents throughout the United States, including at The MLK Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta, the Contemporary Arts Center of Cincinnati, the International Innocence Network Conference, the Global Center for Democracy and Journalism at Sam Houston State University, the Woody Guthrie Center, and numerous schools and universities.

Presented by the Center for World Performance Studies with support from the School of Music, Theatre & Dance.

If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation to participate in this event, please contact Center for World Performance Studies, at [email protected] or call 734-936-2777, at least one week in advance of this event. Please be aware that advance notice is necessary as some accommodations may require more time for the University to arrange.

Discussion Free Talk Interdisciplinary Central Campus

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