It can be painful; it can be hard to look at. It can be beautifully human.
Truthworker Theatre Company’s latest production RE:VISION | A State of Emergence will move you the whole way through, says the company’s founder Samara Gaev.
The social justice youth hip-hop theatre company will debut its latest show on Thursday, May 4, at Jack Theatre in Clinton Hill, exploring the often untold journeys people take after their release from prison while also addressing reintegration in the age of mass incarceration.
The show is the third installment in the company’s trilogy tracing the cycles of mass incarceration, with previous shows focusing on the school-to-prison pipeline, and the use of solitary confinement on death row.
Gaev said centering the new show on reintegration into family and community life after time in prison was the logical next step for the company, and crafting the show had been a powerful process as it was created through collaboration with the crew’s family members.
“We’ve gone in and done interviews and invited family in to our community labs for storytelling and workshops,” she said. “So fathers and uncles who have just come home have come to work with us to share their own stories and now we have company members who are depicting their own fathers who are coming home from prison and are facing themselves.”
Re:Vision is told through three different stories of reentry. Eleven of the 12 actors either knew of someone personally or had a family member who experienced incarceration.
“Fathers and uncles who have just come home have come to work with us to share their own stories”
Gaev said the company allowed members, aged between 18 and 24, who have been directly impacted by incarceration in Brooklyn to heal and educate themselves
“It’s medicine,” she said.
The aim was to create platforms to amplify the voices that were often overshadowed in the mainstream media and to share stories to create empathy and compassion in audiences, Gaev said.
“If we can access that inside of ourselves through theatre, then the way we walk through the world and the relationships we have and the choices we make can be transformed.”
Company member Donnay Edmund, 22, said as soon as she found out about the company doing work focused on prison culture with young people in Brooklyn she wanted to get involved: “It is with young people who are artists and have so much creativity but otherwise might not be provided the same platforms,” Edmund said.
Using hip-hop and theatre to tell the stories makes the company’s work relatable to all demographics and RE:VISION was a really important show to see, Edmunds added, as it was some of the company’s deepest work.
The show is running Thursday May 4 at 7.30pm; Friday May 5 at 1.30 and 7.30pm; Saturday May 6 at 7.30pm; and Sunday May 7 at 2.30pm at Jack, 505 Waverly Ave, Brooklyn. Purchase tickets online here.