Theater master class in prisonBy Vika https://pictolic.com/en/article/theater-master-class-in-prison
It doesn't matter why they got here and what crimes they are serving their sentences for, it is important to help them become different people: to teach compassion and empathy. It is with this goal in mind that a special theater project for prisoners was created at Norco Prison in California. Watch a theater masterclass at Norco Prison by renowned Hollywood actor Tim Robbins.
1. Norco is a prison that places great emphasis on working with prisoners to reduce the rate of crime. Resocialization and various preventive and curative programs are in the first place here.
Many may say that all this is useless, that they say "the humpbacked grave will fix it", but the numbers will tell you exactly the opposite. According to statistics, participation in artistic and creative programs in this prison significantly reduces the re-commission of crimes by its participants. (Photo: MARIO ANZUONI / REUTERS).
2. The Gang Prison Project is a program that has been running at the Norco prison in California since 2006. Reuters photographer Mario Anzuoni has received permission from the director of the prison to participate in the inmates' creative activities. (Photo: JAE C. HONG / AP).
3. The idea of resocialization through art is not new. More and more prisons offer their prisoners all kinds of activities: art, music, theatrical. Some of the participants, to their surprise, find out that they have real talent. But the purpose of these classes is completely different. (Photo: MARIO ANZUONI / REUTERS).
4. Why do prisoners play in the theater? It turns out that participation in theatrical activities teaches convicts sympathy, empathy, in a word, empathy. A theater master class helps them learn to cope with their own emotions, often negative ones.
Once they enter the role, they can afford to show fear, shame, joy, etc. Believe it or not, some of them felt these emotions for the first time right here - in the theater. Prisoners also learn to recognize their own feelings and the feelings of others. (Photo: MARIO ANZUONI / REUTERS).
5. This time, the prisoners, led by actor Tim Robbins, participate in the comedy dell'arte play. This is a kind of 16th-century Italian street theater based on improvisation. It is also called a comedy of masks since masks and painted faces of actors are characteristic of such performances. (Photo: JAE C. HONG / AP).
6. The famous actor Tim Robbins, known all over the world for his role in the movie "The Shawshank Redemption", conducts theatrical workshops at the Norco prison. (Photo: MARIO ANZUONI / REUTERS).
7. This is more than an ordinary theater. The prisoners participating in the project are introduced to various meditation techniques with which they begin their theater lessons. This helps them calm down and concentrate before rehearsals. (Photo: MARIO ANZUONI / REUTERS).
8. During the master class, all participants play short, impromptu scenes. Sometimes some of them play so strongly in the role, which greatly impresses the guards who act as spectators in the theater. (Photo: MARIO ANZUONI / REUTERS).
9. Actors put on makeup before the performance. (Photo: JAE C. HONG / AP).
10. Prisoners after the show. Many of them have learned to show positive emotions only here. (Photo: JAE C. HONG / AP).
11. “On stage, prisoners stop being criminals. It doesn't matter what they were put here for. For hours, they can just be actors. And we are spectators, ”wrote the photographer Mario Anzuoni. (Photo: MARIO ANZUONI / REUTERS).
12. While creative programs for prisoners have significant positive effects, there will always be those who will criticize every new idea of resocialization, just because it goes a long way. These critics probably never thought about the fact that such activities save someone's life, including, quite possibly, their own (from a stray bullet, for example). (Photo: JAE C. HONG / AP).