The ReEntry Theatre Program 2016
Dreams and Nightmares:
Do What You Always Did, Get What You Always Got
Staged readings of plays written by formerly incarcerated community members was performed:
Friday, March 25th and Saturday, March 26th
7:30pm @ Hangar Theatre
Bahrain Blues by Louis Gershon
Join Louis on his epic journey as he tries to reach New York City from Kathmandu by way of Bahrain and Frankfurt. From a run-in with the armed guards at check-in, to 16 hours in an airport holding cell, with a wrenching call home to Mom for help, Louis struggles with sobriety as his real journey is just beginning.
Djinn and Juice by Christopher Hartman
Jack wakes up in prison to find he has committed a horrible crime while under the influence. When the person who appears to be his C.O. reads him his charges he can’t believe it. Find out what Jack does when he’s given a chance to start over.
God Grant Me the Serenity by Briana Milton-Forest
Bonnie is a single mom struggling to get by on minimum wage. We meet her on the day her landlord decides to raise her rent. When she tries to ask her boss for a raise, she can’t get a word in edgewise. This play takes a look at the challenges of survival in the “top 10 list” capital of the world.
The Dope Opera by A.C. Sidle
Dealers, users, courts, rehabs. Working the system and getting worked by the system. The Dope Opera is a dark and sometimes humorous look at the endless cycle of addiction and the inevitability of relapse and overdose.
Untitled by Khalil Bey
ReEntry Theatre Program Mentor, Khalil Bey couldn’t help himself and wrote another play this year. Following, Brother, You Better Check Yourself, his examination of the reluctance of African American men to attend to their healthcare needs, this year Bey tackles language and communication as a recently released prisoner attempts to share his experiences with a friend who can’t understand a word he’s saying.
The ReEntry Theatre Program, now in it’s second year, brings together formerly incarcerated participants to write original plays about their life experiences. The plays this year are focused on addiction and recovery and the challenges of working for less than a living wage as one tries to rebuild a life.
New this year is Civic Ensemble’s engagement with the Ultimate ReEntry Opportunity (URO), a collective impact process in Tompkins County coordinated by the Multicultural Resource Center. The URO was established in 2014 as a partnership movement between private and public sectors to transform and optimize the process of reentry and reduce the risk of rearrest and reincarceration. Fabina B. Colon, Director of the Multicultural Resource Center, notes, “Everyone should feel welcome and supported and experience safety and security in our communities. This is not the reality for people entering the community from jail or prison; therefore, we must work collectively to remove the systemic barriers to access, equity, and inclusion. This is why the URO process is important; it provides a common table where voices and efforts from across sectors in our communities are unified and can reimagine a system that provides safety and security for everyone.”
The participants in the program this year are Louis Gershon, Christopher Glenn Hartman, Briana Milton, and Anthony Sidle. Through theatre games, group activities, storytelling, and playwriting exercises,they have written short plays inspired by their own experiences and the world around them. This year the process also includes two mentors, Abdullah Khalil Bey and Terrell M. Dickson, who completed the ReEntry Theatre Program last year. Civic Ensemble artists Godfrey L. Simmons, Jr., and Sarah K. Chalmers are facilitating the work with support from dramaturg Lucy Walker, company manager Hana Mastrogiacomo, volunteer coordinator Joan Friedman, and many gracious volunteers from the community.
Ultimate ReEntry Opportunity