Jody Thomas Doesn't Want To Die
by Arthur Danin Adler
Play and Screenplay
What if a death-row inmate, just before the appointed time of execution, manages to grab a weapon and hostages? What does he have to lose? How do you negotiate with him?
It is the nightmare of every prison official. Here is a young man, a cop-killer, condemned to death, and now commands his own future. He has twisted the system. There is nothing to negotiate except
his own survival.
In the death-house cellblock: Jody Thomas barefoot, armed, with three hostages including a Catholic priest. Caught up in the explosive melee, his ACLU attorney, a young woman fighting
to save Jody's life in defiance of the rush to capital punishment.
Up above in the control center: the Warden, an experienced professional reluctantly cast in the role of executioner and pressured by his hostile staff. At his back, the Governor, a seasoned,
slick-willy politician whose agenda is shaped by his own public image.
Outside: a media circus.
In real time, the countdown begins. There is no way to roust Jody without harming the hostages. A gritty stalemate becomes an uncontrollable horror. Sacrificing the life of a hostage, Jody sets a
deadline. A deal is struck: his death sentence will be commuted. The shock of it is... Jody rejects the offer. He knows he won't get far, yet he wants to escape. He doesn't want to die by agreement! This young, uneducated loser
has discovered his own free will. Another deal — engineered by the Governor — sets Jody and his hostages toward escape and the hungry, beckoning media outside. A bizarre dance begins that brings betrayal, madness and
destroys Jody. The sweet smell of politics prevails.