Never Fight A Shark In Water
World Premiere: Raw, One-Man Play Explores Wrongly Accused
Friday, October 29 and Saturday, October 30 at 8pm • Sunday, October 31 at 2pm
NOCCA’s Nims Black Box Theatre • 2800 Chartres Street
Tickets $15 / $10 students and seniors
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Making its world premiere in NOCCA’s Nims Black Box Theatre, Never Fight A Shark In Water is an original dramatic production written by NOCCA Creative Writing Instructor Lara Naughton. Never Fight a Shark in Water is based entirely on the words and recollections of an Angola Prison inmate who faced 27 ½ years of imprisonment for a crime he didn’t commit. Using monologue, movement, and metaphor, the play explores the universal experiences of anger, forgiveness, and compassion. It exposes the criminal justice system failures that lead to wrongful convictions. And it challenges us to rethink our understanding of freedom.
Never Fight a Shark in Water is written by Lara Naughton, performed by recording artist and former Broadway actor Charles Holt, and choreo-directed by Nicole Boyd-Buckels. Lighting and sound designs are by Dan Zimmer.
Performances will run Friday, October 29 and Saturday, October 30 at 8pm and Sunday, October 31 at 2pm in NOCCA’s Nims Black Box Theatre, 2800 Chartres Street, New Orleans. $15 advanced tickets may be purchased by clicking here.
About Never Fight A Shark In Water
On Halloween weekend 1975, a 15-year-old was killed in the Calliope Projects in New Orleans. Gregory Bright, 20 years old at the time, was arrested along with a co-defendant he had never met before, charged with 2nd degree murder, wrongfully convicted, and sentenced to life in Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola without the possibility of parole or suspension of sentence. Bright, who was illiterate when he entered prison, taught himself to read, then taught himself the law, getting his appeals all the way to the State Supreme Court before a lawyer from the Innocence Project New Orleans stepped in to help unravel the case. It took Gregory Bright 27 ½ years to prove his innocence and come home.
Lara Naughton and Gregory Bright have collaborated for three years, documenting Bright’s experiences through interviews, personal writings, Theatre of the Oppressed techniques, Traumatic Incident Reduction techniques, news articles, legal transcripts, court documents, and more.
Says Bright, “The odds were against me, but it’s like my main man, Wing Ding, used to say when we was in prison: never fight a shark in water, get him on land and you got him. Well, it took me 27 1/2 years but I finally got that shark on land.”
On Halloween weekend 2010, 35 years after his arrest, Gregory Bright will get a front row view of his own life story. Never Fight a Shark in Water, a one-man documentary stage play, uses Bright’s own words to tell this horrifying story of wrongful incarceration, and at the same time to share the uplifting spiritual story of Bright’s journey to forgiveness and freedom. Bright says, “The human element is what fascinated me. Most people don’t get a chance to see that side of prison. Prison movies seem shallow compared to the real thing. This play demands attention on the subject matter.”