Saturday, October 8, 2016

Theater: Prison Theater Arts Presents 'Sleeping Giants: A Dream Play' (Victoria, Canada)

Does the idea of going inside a prison to watch a play, even one based on fairy tales, unnerve you? We admit, we area little disconcerted, but we're also intrigued.

Opening yesterday (Friday, October 7th 2016), the minimum security prison William Head Institution is staging with the help and support of WHOs (William Head On Stage) and SNAFU Dance Theater, a new play titled Sleeping Giants. It uses metaphors from the tales of Sleeping Beauty, Rip Van Winkle and A Midsummer Night's Dream to reflect on real life experiences.

Sleeping Giants began inspired by such stories as A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Rip Van Winkle, and soon grew and evolved into a wholly original piece with music, costumes, lighting, set and props--all designed and built by the inmate team.  We follow the story of five human dreamers and a family of dream spirits who act as guides through the subconscious landscape.  Dreams are scarce, and the dream spirits must find a way to make the humans dream again, or else fade away into oblivion.  
There's an interesting review about the play and it's development HERE. Here's an excerpt:
Sleeping Giants takes its cue from such tales as Rip Van Winkle, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Sleeping Beauty. It tells five fictional tales based on the real-life experiences of inmates. Greenfield said one of the themes is the notion of “long sleeps.”
“There’s the idea of people going to sleep for a long, long time and waking up and the whole world’s changed around you. It’s kind of a metaphor for prison life,” she said.The chairman of William Head on Stage is one of 15 prisoners performing in Sleeping Giants. He said the play is also a critique of our technology-obsessed society. The inmates have a different take on the topic because this side of modern life is off-limits to them.“We have no direct access to the Internet, we have no iPhones or gadgets to play with while inside,” said the inmate, who cannot be identified due to prison regulations. 

Costumes created for the show by the inmates:
The Alchemist's cape, Dream Spirit costumes and the Woodland Sprite costume. 

Here's a little introduction from WHOs, introducing the play:
You can find out more information about the play, the facility and the process of visiting this 'unique' stage HERE.

We would suggest, if you're interested, to do your research. You will find many surprisingly great reviews of plays staged at the William Head Institution and the visit process is made very clear. Consider going in a group, for your peace of mind, and, at the suggestion of those working in theater to change lives: keep an open heart.

What: Sleeping GiantsWhere: William Head Institution, Metchosin, near Victoria in CanadaWhen: Oct. 7, 8, 14, 15, 21, 22, 27, 28, 29, Nov. 3, 4, 5. Must be 19 or over to enter.

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