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Play Takes Intense Look at Crime Victims

Posted on May 20th, 2004

Howard Zehr talks with an inmate at a Pennsylvania prison
Howard Zehr, co-director of EMU’s Conflict Transformation Program and author of the book upon which the play, “A Body in Motion,” is based, talks with an inmate at one of the Pennsylvania prisons where a performance was given.
Photo by Sarah Bones

A play evoking the agony experienced by victims of violence is hitting people hard on both sides of prison walls.

“I’ve read about how victims feel and I’ve been through counseling,” one Pennsylvania prisoner told actors after they performed “A Body in Motion” at his medium-security state prison. “But this is the first time I’ve really felt it. This is the first time I felt the rage. This is the first time I’ve stopped thinking about my own victimhood.”

“A Body in Motion” is based on the book “Transcending: Reflections of Crime Victims” (Good Books, 2001) by Howard Zehr, co-director of EMU’s Conflict Transformation Program.

Three of the five principals involved in the play – the director and two of the actors, Trent Wagler and Lisa White – are EMU alumni, as is Barb Toews, the Pennsylvania Prison Society official who marshaled the resources necessary for the play to tour through eight Pennsylvania prisons in late April and May.

Playwright and director Ingrid DeSanctis pieced together a touching, often wrenching, play from the 39 profiles in Dr. Zehr

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