Dutch Kills Theater Company Presents SOLITARY
As America begins to recognise the problems of mass incarceration, this intensely researched show takes the issue one step further to ask how it can deal with mass reintegration, especially for those inmates who have faced months or years in solitary confinement. Solitary is a wordless piece of physical theatre following one man's descent into memory and madness using ensemble, Lecoq based techniques and classically trained Juilliard musicians to pull audiences into the isolated world of what inmates call 'the box'. As it explores the lasting effects of this extreme form of imprisonment, Solitary asks what the purpose of the penal system is: rehabilitation, or punishment? And what happens when the door is opened?
Numerous studies have shown that solitary confinement has permanent psychological consequences, and at any one time 60,000 to 80,000 people are kept in extreme isolation in American prisons; 80% of them will be released back in to society and expected to reintegrate. Solitary has been made drawing on extensive research, testimonials, medical documents and interviews. The company worked with Fortune Society, a NYC based organisation helping with reintegration and housing for the recently released, and through them interviewed the formerly incarcerated, some of which had spent years in solitary.
Blake Habermann said, "While working together in residency several years ago, Duane and I spoke about how mime performance could draw attention to those who are silenced. Some may see incarceration and especially isolation as a purgatory for those who deserve it, but in reality the penal system in the US condemns all sorts of inmates to solitary, no matter the gravity of their initial crimes. It has become a means for further punishment and degradation rather than rehabilitation. While we recognise the occasional necessity for this method, we hope our piece will stand for the dignity of all those hoping to re-integrate in the face of a society stacked against them and the lingering traumas of this treatment."
Duane Cooper added, "I would like audience members to consider/reconsider the effectiveness of solitary confinement, as well as what it means to forgive as an individual, and as a society. Can a convicted criminal truly repay his or her debt to society? How do we decide just punishment? It's hard for me to say how I feel about solitary confinement. I do think it draws a fine line between punishment and torture."
Dutch Kills Theater is a theatre company based in New York that focuses on developing and producing new writing by the most exciting emerging artists in the city. Formed in 2011, they previously came to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe with The Sister by Eric John Meyer and Adventure Quest by Richard Lovejoy in 2016, and The Providence of Neighboring Bodies by Jean Ann Douglass in 2018.
Running Time: 1hr | Suitable for ages 14+
1 - 24 Aug (not 12), 21.35 - 22.35
www.assemblyfestival | 0131 623 3030