Each time I read works about theatre-behind-bars, I look for reasons to re-affirm why my years of directing plays at Sing Sing were among the most meaningful of my life. Reading this book was like renewing my vows. It brought into focus the fruitful union between two seemingly unlikely partners, corrections and theatre. In this rich, inter-disciplinary analysis of three prison theatre programs, Laurence Tocci deconstructs how these programs endured, engaged prisoners in the creative and the communal, transforming lives in the process, and provided virtual respite from the harsh reality behind the walls.
Theatre may well be one of the few antidotes to the de-humanizing climate of prisons. Through meticulous documentation, this book illuminates how the mechanism of theatre cultivates self-determination, self-control and teamwork in an institutional system otherwise characterized by de-personalization, sensory deprivation, distrust and violence.