Shakespeare Behind Bars | Chicago Reader

Shakespeare Behind Bars

If you're venturing into a community of murderers, you'd better come heavily armed—and for a theater director, that means The Tempest. This fascinating video documentary covers a nine-month rehearsal of Shakespeare's final play by inmates at the Luther Luckett Correctional Complex in La Grange, Kentucky. Producer Jilann Spitzmiller and writer-director Hank Rogerson wisely ignore the open-ended question of whether the Shakespeare Behind Bars program, founded in 1995, has any significant effect on the men's rehabilitation; instead the play's the thing, as the prisoners explain how their brutal crimes and aching remorse inform their portrayals. “I've often thought that a bunch of convicts would make great actors, because they're used to lying and playing a role,” says Big G, the burly lifer cast as Caliban. “But really it's the exact opposite of that, because you have to tell the truth.” 93 min.

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