Never Fight a Shark in Water is a documentary stage play written and directed by Lara Naughton, and performed by Gregory Bright himself. The play uses Bright’s own words to tell his horrifying story of wrongful incarceration, and at the same time to share the uplifting spiritual story of Bright’s journey to forgiveness and freedom.
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 collaborated for 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 ½ years but I finally got that shark on land.”
Gregory Bright has performed Never Fight a Shark in Water across the country, and is available for bookings.
For more information about the stage play, or to book the show for your venue, contact Lara Naughton.
January 27, 2017, Episcopal School of Jacksonville, FL
October 16, 2016, Auburn Public Theater
October 15, 2016, Cornell University