Browsing articles tagged with " incarceration"

Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare

May 29, 2017   //   by Kate Powers   //   Incarcerated performers, Productions, Shakespeare

Feste in Twelfth Night at Sing Sing Correctional Facility, 2016

 

In 2016, as our contribution to the celebration of Shakespeare’s 400 year legacy, the men of RTA and I staged Twelfth Night at Sing Sing Correctional Facility. It was my fifth time directing this play; it was my fifth …

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“He struggled and kept his guard up”: Hamilton in the Big House

Apr 1, 2016   //   by Kate Powers   //   Director's Notebook

“I am the one thing in life I can control.

I am inimitable,

I am an original.

Life doesn’t discriminate

Between the sinners and the saints

It takes and it takes and it takes

And we keep living anyway

We rise and we fall and we break

And we make

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Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

Jun 29, 2014   //   by Kate Powers   //   Incarcerated performers, Productions

Brother Ben exhorts Willy Loman.

In the first half of 2014, I directed Death of a Salesman at Fishkill Correctional Facility, under the auspices of Rehabilitation Through the Arts.

Mid-curtain call for director and cast.

With my incarcerated assistant director, Johnny Hincapie, I wrote the following for the playbill:

Willy …

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Our Town by Thornton Wilder

Oct 28, 2013   //   by Kate Powers   //   Productions

George (Marcelle Smith) and Emily (Kate Kenney)

 

I directed Our Town at Sing Sing Correctional Facility and the men, with their female civilian counterparts, performed the play twice for the population of the facility and once for an invited civilian audience of ~225.

Thornton Wilder’s Our Town opened on …

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Every Town is Our Town

Jun 11, 2013   //   by Kate Powers   //   Director's Notebook, Incarcerated performers

I just directed Thornton Wilder’s Our Town at Sing Sing Correctional Facility, a maximum security prison.

(If you’ve visited this site before, followed me on Twitter or possibly stumbled across my path on the subway, no doubt you already know this.)

Even though the play was selected by their peers, …

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They went and died about it: Staging an incarcerated cemetery

Jun 6, 2013   //   by Kate Powers   //   Director's Notebook, Incarcerated performers

You can’t take an intermission at Sing Sing, and you cannot have a blackout.

Well, this year, a blackout was not available to us because the lights never go out in the room where we presented the play and because the circuits in that space couldn’t handle the wattage of …

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Talking to George Gibbs about Grief

Apr 12, 2013   //   by Kate Powers   //   Director's Notebook, Incarcerated performers

I recently found myself lying on the prison floor, talking to George Gibbs about grief.

[If you are new to my blog, you need to know that I am directing Our Town at Sing Sing Correctional Facility.]

Thornton Wilder’s stage direction reads, “George sinks to his knees then falls full

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It’s clearing up. The stars are coming out.

Mar 4, 2013   //   by Kate Powers   //   Director's Notebook, Incarcerated performers

The individuals on the play selection committee all said that they wanted a comedy, or at least a story with some lighter moments in it.  Over the course of several months, my colleagues and I made almost three dozen suggestions that fit the committee’s criteria, which include having a dozen …

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Listen In

Jul 7, 2012   //   by Kate Powers   //   Director's Notebook, Incarcerated performers


In Acting II at Sing Sing this summer, we’ve been working on developing points of concentration, physical awareness and sense memory, discovering the dramatic action and building a character.  In this regard, our class is much like Acting 201 just about anywhere.  But we’re also looking for life skills, for …

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Humanity 101

Jan 5, 2012   //   by Kate Powers   //   Director's Notebook, Incarcerated performers

Last night, we had the first session of an Intro to Acting workshop at Sing Sing. It was supposed to be for the men new to our program, but in the event, we had a nice mix of veterans and newbies, 15 men in total.

I was leading a Patsy …

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Law & Order: Denmark

Nov 16, 2011   //   by Kate Powers   //   Director's Notebook, Incarcerated performers, Shakespeare

Last night, we put Claudius on trial.

Miching mallecho

If you’ve been reading my blog or following me on Twitter, you probably know that I’m teaching a Shakespeare workshop at Sing Sing Correctional Facility this autumn, that the men were curious but deeply skeptical about Shakespeare when we began.  A …

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Nay, answer me

Nov 9, 2011   //   by Kate Powers   //   Director's Notebook, Incarcerated performers, Shakespeare

I’m sitting in a run-down classroom as the sun slowly sets on the other side of the Hudson River.  The windows are threaded with metal, and there are metal grates on the outside of the glass.  Every so often, a corrections officer walks past the door.  Twelve men sit with …

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Superior Donuts at Sing Sing Correctional Facility

May 15, 2011   //   by Kate Powers   //   Productions

On the verge of donut greatness

How can I describe my experience directing Tracy Letts’ Superior Donuts with men inside Sing Sing Correctional Facility?  Thrilling, challenging, profoundly moving, frustrating, fun, exhilarating, playful, instructive, just like rehearsing any play with a dedicated company anywhere.  Except that it isn’t.

These men have …

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Behind the scenes, behind bars

Apr 1, 2011   //   by Kate Powers   //   Director's Notebook, Incarcerated performers

I used to imagine that incarcerated actors would have no schedule conflicts.  That they would be available to rehearse at any time.  That they don’t have anything else to do.  I was as wrong as I could be.  I marvel at how busy the men who participate in Rehabilitation Through …

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Friday night fights

Mar 17, 2011   //   by Kate Powers   //   Director's Notebook, Incarcerated performers

Two weeks ago, I started a fight at Sing Sing.

If you don’t know Tracy Letts’ Superior Donuts, there is a sprawling, protracted, chock-full-o-storytelling unarmed fight between two characters late in the second act.  I was apprehensive about staging the fight because, in the playwright’s stage direction, “It goes …

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Listen to a silenced voice

Feb 9, 2011   //   by Kate Powers   //   Director's Notebook, Incarcerated performers

I have tasked my assistant director on Superior Donuts at Sing Sing with keeping a rehearsal journal; if we were working at a theatre outside the prison’s walls, he might be writing blog posts for the company’s website regarding the progress of rehearsals.  He has started to find a nifty

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Maximum security casting

Feb 7, 2011   //   by Kate Powers   //   Director's Notebook, Incarcerated performers

I was surprised, schooled and humbled by casting Tracy Letts’ Superior Donuts, which I am directing under the auspices of Rehabilitation Through the Arts (RTA) at Sing Sing Correctional Facility.  It was not unlike casting a grad school production in the sense that it wasn’t about casting the best man …

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Starting Over at Sing Sing Correctional Facility

Nov 26, 2010   //   by Kate Powers   //   Incarcerated performers, Productions

In early 2010, Jeff Glaser directed a production of Starting Over, written by a group of incarcerated men at Woodbourne Correctional Facility, at Sing Sing Correctional Facility, a maximum-security prison just north of New York City.  I partnered with Jeff as something more than an acting coach, something very …

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Ability is of little account without opportunity.
– Lucille Ball

You lie, in faith, for you are called plain Kate,
And bonny Kate, and sometimes Kate the curst;
But Kate, the prettiest Kate in Christendom,
Kate of Kate Hall, my super-dainty Kate,
For dainties are all Kates, and therefore, Kate,
Take this of me, Kate of my consolation…
--The Taming of the Shrew, Act II, scene i