Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Claiming The Golden Fleece

The Medea Project: Theater for Incarcerated Women, a production of Cultural Odyssey, develops original productions that demonstrate their vision of arts as social activism. In 1989, on the basis of material developed while conducting classes at the San Francisco County Jail, Rhodessa Jones created Big Butt Girls, Hard Headed Women, a performance piece based on the lives of the incarcerated women she encountered. During the work's creation, Jones and jail officials discovered issues that were specific to female inmates such as guilt, depression, and self-loathing, which arose in response to feelings of failure in the face of community. Based on this observation, Jones founded the Medea Project to explore whether an arts-based approach could help reduce the numbers of women returning to jail. Five years ago, I was amazed by the inmate performers' energy and talent in their production. Their stories were heartbreakingly raw and moving.

The Medea Project's latest creation My Life in the Concrete Jungle is directed by Rhodessa Jones in collaboration with The Idris Ackamoor Ensemble featuring special guests Ise Lyfe, Cheryl Scales, and female inmates from San Francisco County Jail #8. Performances begin on October 26 at The Lorraine Hansberry Theatre. Click here for more information.


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