By Thomas Fahy, Kimball King
This all-new assortment examines the social, gendered, ethnic, and cultural difficulties of incarceration as explored in modern theatre.
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Extra resources for Captive audience : prison and captivity in contemporary theater
As he related to many interviewers, writing saved his life and enabled him to avoid subsequent stays in prison. 4 He drew upon his experiences, and those of his friends, as a member of the oppressed and often despondent underclass for his art. It was his successful portrayal of the raw emotion and vibrancy of prison life realistically rendered on stage that garnered him accolades. His metaphorical use of prison to depict and comment upon life among the underclasses in American society struck a profound chord with critics and audiences alike.
By sharing a story with others, one sees alternative worlds and can thereby envision a life that is not strictly fixed in history. Cultural critic Elizabeth Alexander reminds us about the taxing burden of being spectators to profoundly disturbing and emotionally difficult artworks dealing with matters of violence and trauma: “Those who receive stories become witnesses once removed but witnesses nonetheless” (Alexander 95). In a similar vein, literary critic Kali Tal affirms, “Bearing witness is an aggressive act.
ZERO: She has only me, After she removes our hands From our ears. SUSAN uncovers her ears slowly. MR. ZERO stares at her, picks up one of the composite sketch pictures, stares at it, and he slowly exits. Stage fades to black. (Eady 41–44) SUSAN: Because we have no answers, we imagine possibilities; Mr. Zero steps forward. The theater is the perfect place to reenact the scene of the crime. As the audience, we do not perform as detectives who believe in the virtues of hardcore evidence, clues, detection, pathology, nor as priests or gods who wait to hear confessions and take care by forgiving trespasses.