Category Archives: Performing Arts

FATHERS AND SONS (A Play Written by Prisoners)


Edited by:
Donald “C-Note” Hooker and Mohammed White Ali

A once in a generation work of art that gives voice to the boy in every man, and to the man who needs to be heard by every boy.

ABOUT

Fathers and Sons, was a play held March 15-17, 2017, at the California State Prison-Los Angeles County (CSP-LAC), and performed by the prisoners housed on the B Facility yard. It was directed by Leah Joki who was assisted by five professional actors under the supervision of Meri Parkarinen of The Strindberg Laboratory. It consisted of 20-acts. These were established works from playwrights such as Shakespeare and August Wilson. It also included original works from the CSP-LAC B Facility prisoners.
Fathers and Sons (A Play Written by Prisoners), is a multiracial work consisting of the edited and unedited versions of the written plays by the prisoners performed in March of 2017. This work also includes new material from CSP-LAC B Facility prisoners that were not a part of the original March playbill.

PLAYBILL

Another Wounded Soul
by Tuan Doan
Tears of Shame
by Tuan Doan
Running the Streets
by Mohammed E. White Ali
Father to Son
by Dontay Hayes
Accidental Legacy
by Derric Burbie
Foolish Man’s Land
by David Garcia
Chasing a Dream
by Travon Pugh
The Seed of Bonnie and Clyde (South Los Angeles Edition)
by Donald “C-Note” Hooker
Grandpa and Michael
by Jerry Cooley
My Father’s Gone
by Ira Benjamin

FROM THE EDITOR

I put together this compilation after conversing with most of the prisoner writers on the play Fathers and Sons, and hearing the frustrations of their stories being edited down. None of them have ever put on a prison play before and may not have understood brevity is good. But my concern was the editing of content. So much so, I felt it was a real travesty against our society.* I am quoted in a Paintoem as saying “We create monsters of ugliness but we’re scared to look at our own creations.” As a member of the Restorative Justice Community we believe at getting at the core truth. We will never get to the core of the mass incarceration problem here in America if we simply whitewash its causation. Simply acting that our criminal justice is justified because our prisons are full of degenerate Wally Cleaver’s of Leave It to Beaver, who’s background are from good homes is not the truth. This is not the general upbringing of the men in our prisons, nor the sons they have left, or are leaving behind. While not all women may agree, the Chorus of Voices are loud enough that bodies of work that give women insight into the man, man-child relationship, are helpful. In households where the woman is raising a man-child alone, her sisterhood, her gender, is not enough to rear a man. This is not some chauvinistic banter, but is the authentic Chorus of Voices of single women households raising a man-child. A man must be involved in this endeavor. While Fathers and Sons (A Play Written by Prisoners), cannot substitute for a living, breathing, and present male, it is a must-read for the junior males of our society. An insight, a tour, of how one gets into a mess, and how to avoid it.
Finally, for those who want to work with prisoners and have their voices heard, don’t whitewash it. To do so makes about as much sense as a U.S. President serving a foreign dignitary a state dinner consisting of the cuisine from that dignitary’s homeland. When foreign Heads of State come to America, feed them hamburgers. We live in a golden age of television that was founded on the backs of cable shows such as Sex in the City, The Sopranos, and further exacerbated by Breaking Bad. The point being, the American public will support gritty reality. And these were my frustrations, and my passions, in presenting to you, Fathers and Sons (A Play Written by Prisoners.

Click here for link to free download of play Fathers and Sons (A Play Written by Prisoners)
Related Links:
Prison Foundation
The Strindberg Laboratory
Leah Joki

*This comment should not be misconstrued. Leah Joki is a Julliard trained actress, and has over twenty years of teaching prisoners theater. She is highly beloved by her students. The schism between writers and the direction a director takes the writer’s written material is nothing new to the process or the industry.

Artwork:
Dreams of the Fathers
by: C-Note