Thursday, November 25, 2010
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Additional names will be taken starting 1 hour prior to performance start time. Come to Pier 33 to add your name to the list.
Monday, November 8, 2010
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
I saw the We Players production of Hamlet on Alcatraz yesterday, Hallowe'en. The foreboding emotionally intense action propels the audience forward, anticipation building, toward the ultimate horror. The play reanimates the hopelessly guilty karmic soaked landscape and the ghostly grim abandoned architecture with the murderous motives and methods that landed men on the forbidding Rock in the first place. It is Alcatraz as nothing else could be.
and a comment:
Ha, I was goin for somethin, Fat Guy Critical maybe, got off track by the win fireworks, mini riot, cop cars outside, and it turned out kinda cryptic, tortured syntax, grammatical violence - hah, cryptic - hallowe'en - tortured - violence - Alcatraz - hah hah
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
This Saturday, 10/30
aired in the SF Bay Area on KALW 91.7FM
and other pulbic radio stations nationwide.
Show is streamed live 10am-12pm at www.KALW.org
more info on the show at www.WCL.org
Join us as part of the live audience! Reserve tickets at 415-664-9500
Monday, October 25, 2010
The typhoon blew us off the Rock yesterday, and our magic wand seems to be on the fritz...
Some conditions are beyond even the powerful charms of WE.
Thank you for your patience and understanding the nature of site-specific work.
WE are entirely booked for all performances of Hamlet on Alcatraz.
If you don't already have reservations, the waiting list is a good option!
We begin taking names for our waiting list 1 hour prior to performance start time/ ferry departure.
Come to Pier 33 and look for the Hamlet on Alcatraz signs and the crew in red t-shirts.
We release unclaimed reservations 15 minutes before departure.
Remaining shows as follows:
Friday, October 29, 3:10pm
Saturday, October 30, 3:10pm
Sunday, October 31, 11:35am
Saturday, November 6, 3:10pm
Sunday, November 7, 11:35am
Saturday, November 13, 3:10pm
Sunday, November 14, 11:35am
Friday, November 19, 3:10pm
Saturday, November 20, 3:10pm
Sunday, November 21, 11:35am
See you on the Rock!
Friday, October 22, 2010
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
"This is an amazing artistic effort that creates an experience that truly transports you into another world... The visual beauty of this performance will knock your socks off." —mdn
"The audience was intimately mixed with the cast and the setting such that the brilliant words were coming from in front, behind and ultimately inside my head... I feel much more alive having seen it." —andywolpert
Other audience thoughts: The Opposite of Truth, Theo's, Cameron Maddux, My Grainy View, Love and Eggs
Thank you for all of your thoughtful reactions.
Sunday, October 10, 2010
We are taking names for our waiting list 1 hour prior to listed performance time and releasing unclaimed reservations 15 minutes prior to ferry departure. Follow the signs to the reservations table at Pier 33.
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Saturday, September 4, 2010
WE just visited Evan Bissell's show at SOMArts called What Cannot be Taken Away: Families and Prisons Project. The show grew out of a series of workshops and dialogues between the artist, incarcerated men and local youth with incarcerated parents. Bissell documented and displayed the process of the project in order to emphasize the collaborative nature of the portraits on display. The exhibition also includes interactive wall drawings, installation pieces and audio. The show will run through September 19th. Be sure to check it out! Additionally, Evan Bissell will be offering a visual arts workshop related to healing and justice on Saturday 11, 2010.
There are over seven million youth in this country with parents in the legal justice system.
Explore Public Secrets' stunning website and hear the voices of women incarcerated in the California Prison System.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Monday, August 23, 2010
- Stage and tech crew*
- Front of house Crew*
- Off-Site or work day helpers (specialized training not required)
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Monday, August 16, 2010
Tuesday, 8.17 from about 2pm probably til 6pm
Wednesday, 8.18 from about 1 or 1:30 to probably 5 or 6
Thursday, 8.19 possibly in the morning, if need be, from about 10am to 12 noon
Please e-mail email@example.com if you're interested in helping out.
Friday, August 13, 2010
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Friday, July 9, 2010
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Visit their websites at:
“This is a book about poetry, about struggle, about freedom and incarceration, and most of all about heart. It is a wonderful read.” - devorah major, San Francisco Poet Laureate 2002-2005
Monday, April 26, 2010
what an intense story. what a challenging reality.
how is jail different for those who actually committed a crime, and those who definitely did not?
(transcribed from original scraps of paper)
A true test of my nerve and my strength of will. I thought I would be tough if I ever came into danger; but I am not as tough as I thought. I am terrified. My pulse races with the constant thought of my peril.
I cannot be humbled, because I am innocent. The crime I have been charged with deeply offends me. This charge of kidnapping is ridiculous, born out of someone's paranoia and profiling. I was only trying to help the child. He bumped his head, and wandered forward into the parking lot, looking at the ground, quietly saying "mommy". I walked with him, trying to ask him if he was alright, what was his name, where did he last see his mother, can he show me... when a woman hurries up, identifies him, takes his hand and hurries him off to reunite him with his mother. Confident that the matter was resolved, I continued on to my car and left, as I had intended to do before my concern for the boy. Next thing I know, I get pulled over and arrested under suspicion of child abduction! The cops don't believe my story. They think I "fled the scene". I am being kept in maximum security. I'm on the news! My photo and name on television and in the sunday paper! They say I kidnapped that child! I've been demonized; they've turned it into a witch hunt. Now I am surrounded by violent criminals... who all think that I kidnap little boys.
I have asked for protective custody, and I am confined to my cell. I have broken NO laws; I have been arrested and imprisoned merely because of someone's false interpretation of what they saw. In my hat and trench coat, I had been stereotyped as a villain.
Room is six sided polygon. Stainless steel sink and toilet. Mirror and small stainless steel shelf. Wooden shelf and large wooden shelf/desk below the first. One buzzing tube light. Two ventilation ducts, in and out. Cement base bed and padding, with a pillow and 2 blankets. Two narrow barred windows near ceiling which look out to a red brick wall.
145 and 5 thirds tiles on floor (deep red)
46 tiles on wall base perimeter, covering half of 24 wall bricks.
460 bricks and 45 half-bricks (excluding the 24 above mentioned bricks) on walls (white paint)
2 tiny spiders about 2 millimeters squared.
Cell paced 2,600 times.
Why do I fear death? Because I have barely begun my life of service to the future generations; I have barely done anything to leave this world better than I found it. Only when I am satisfied with my works, will I be able to die in peace, and not fear and regret, which is the worst kind of death.
Justice must be done, or I shall wither away in here, a punching bag for the resident monsters. All I can do for now is watch the shadows move on the brick wall outside as the Earth turns.
When my innocence is proven, I will demand the media run a story to clear my good name. This absurd misunderstanding has slandered me; I am disgraced in the public eye.
Some of these inmates... they are so filled with hot hate and anger; unstable; irrational. This place is a mad house. I don't belong here. My rights, my freedom, taken away so easily.
Another paper to write on. I've thoroughly brushed my hair, washed my face, my armpits, brushed my teeth twice since dinner, and done more sit-ups and push-ups than I ever have in one day before. I think, I hope, that I'll be seen in court tomorrow, and they will set my bail. I just want this ugly mess to be over and get on with my life.
I have a feeling that the boy scout troop won't want me teaching the kids. From now on, everyone in town is going to treat me like I'm the scum of the Earth.
I'm not allowed to exercise during lights-out, and all I have to read is the Inmate Information Manual Rules and Regulations, which I have read. I'm tired but I can't sleep.
Dawn. My arraignment is today, at 13:30. My charge will be read (kidnapping 2), and they may set my bail amount; they might not. I hope it won't be over 10 grand.
This is infuriating! I only wanted to make sure the boy was okay, but who will believe me? At least those who know me will know I tell the truth.
I am a sheep amidst wolves. In this place, I have seen the dark side of humanity. I've come face-to-face with a murderer who has gotten the death penalty. He seemed proud. These monsters, they pray on the weak, and judge everybody. They assume everyone (me) is guilty. It was by sheer luck that I avoided getting attacked in the waiting room before court; the man who wanted too didn't only because he has a child on the way on the outside and want's out, which means not starting any fights. I'm going to get eaten alive if I stay here. I can't be in my cell all the time. All I can do is keep my mouth shut.
Another night in this cell; this uncomfortable bed. At least I have a book to read now; I was able to get it from the common room. A Traitor to Memory, by Elizabeth George. A British mystery. It seemed all that they had in that cupboard were mysteries and thrillers.
One of the inmates down the hall has been cussing, shouting, and singing (badly) for hours on end. If someone tells him to shut up, it starts him into a fit of insults. Gods, I hope they set my bail tomorrow. I thought they would do it today after my court appearance. I need to get out of this accursed place. There is nothing here but hate, vanity, insanity, and indifference in the absence of the former.
I can't stop thinking about how badly this can go. This is crazy. If I get out of this jam, I will be content to just plant trees for the rest of my life.
A terrible encircling darkness of anxiety curses me.
Bad things happen to good people.
There is no justice in it;
It is just the world that we have made for ourselves.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Monday, March 22, 2010
Friday, March 19, 2010
Sunday, March 14, 2010
What are the rocks we choose not to look under? What things are out in the open that we choose to ignore, choose to pretend don't exist? Is it a conscious choice? Where does the fear of knowing come from? Is there ever such a thing as knowing too much?
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Another comment left on an envelope at the dinner party:
"While we know that prisons aren’t perfect, still remember that some people need to be in prison (or something like it). Some people “deserve” to be dealt with."
Thank you for this - for bringing this into the conversation. Actually this has been coming up a lot for me - that my natural sympathy, and desire for understanding is not meant to excuse or justify crime. But how can we heal, how can there be rehabilitation without trying to understand what motivates crime/ violence in the first place?
I have been reading James Gilligan's book: VIOLENCE.
Phew - check it out. Pretty intense, and really interesting how Mr. Gilligan has found in his 30 years of working with some of the most violent men in the nation - as an MD and psychiatrist - that Shakespeare and the Greeks provide some of the most useful information and archetypes for getting at an understanding of even the most horrendous crimes. But rather than turn this post into an exploration of Gilligan's book - I return to my the quote above...
So I recognize that yes, I tend naturally to be sympathetic to the struggles and experiences of people in prison. The more I learn and expose myself to - the more painfully obvious appears the injustice of the justice system. A system that in many cases, works to break the spirit and souls of the prisoners, quite contrary to any sense of rehab. Why bother trying to understand why people commit crimes? I mean not just the MOMENT of the crime, but the larger social and cultural conditions urging someone, the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to, the pressures, confusions. Can you imagine only being remembered for the rest of forever as the one worst thing you ever did ? To have your whole self condensed into that one instance ? Okay so this trying to understand is not meant to gloss over the real horror of the crime committed, the suffering unleashed upon the victim and relations, not to justify or ignore the crime that put someone in prison, but trying to place it and understand it within a larger framework - that this could be a way to uncover solutions for healing and change.
And I'm finding that many effective programs exist – art, education, and meditation based programs that return a sense of Self, Strength, and Hope to a person – except these programs are getting slashed and burned.
I'm so grateful to have the opportunity to meet some of these artists / educators / activists working within the prison system and learn from them. We Players will strive to incorporate what we learn and gather into our performances.
The other part of WHY is this...
We all have one thing in common - we are Human Beings.
This is at the heart of the work in the theater. It's a vehicle for better understanding myself, this being human, the layers, subtleties, complications, influences...Who Am I? How Must I Act?
i believe it is part of our job as artists is to remain open and curious and willing to feel. all of it.
At last...here are some of your comments from the February Feast:
(and thank you for the lovely pictures on your envelopes too!)
“I noticed that Hamlet called Denmark a prison…You probably noticed this.”
We thought there was some kind of connection in there! ;)
“Invite ex-prisoners to come see the show” / “Will (former) prisoners be able to participate in the production?”
Yes! In fact we are exploring a number of ways for prisoners to be involved in this work. Including incorporating their poetry and artwork, and inviting some former prisoners to be involved as crew and performers.
“Local schools would love to see the energy of We Players!” / “Get local schools to come on field trip?”
We agree. Our thanks to Michele Haner, who will arrange for Ava to visit the French-American International High School and lead a discussion about site-specific theater, and using theater as a tool for social action. We plan to arrange student internships for the summer rehearsal and production period. We are hoping to team up with other teachers and existing outreach programs to incorporate work with at-risk youth.
Please let us know if there's a teacher you think we should talk to!
“A haiku for We:
You are amazing
Your manifested beauty’s
Magnified by love
Keep it up.”
Thank you. We are buoyed up and strengthened by your support!
“How long by homing pigeon flight is a trip from Alcatraz to San Quentin?”
Very good question. Please let us know the answer. Although it may be more relevant to ask this of cormorants, gulls, egrets…other bird species that make their seasonal nesting home on Alcatraz.
“How are the prisons related?”
Amazing how few people are asking that question. Thank you. We will provide information through the project, and infuse our work on site with current stories and statistics to help make the connection between the two.
“Can we watch the play from a boat?”
Do you think we would leave out any detail?
“Will you reinstate the Alcatraz garden?”
Please check out: http://www.alcatrazgardens.org/
The volunteer garden crew on the Rock is amazing. They are restoring the gardens throughout the island.
In November we ate figs from the trees as part of our harvest / fire ceremony.
“What prisoners were sent to Alcatraz and why?”
The so called “worst of the worst”. That is, if you went to prison, but then got in trouble there you could be sent to Alcatraz. Very few prisoners were sent to Alcatraz directly. It was, “reserved for those desperate and irredeemable types”.
“The insane are often incarcerated. Is Hamlet insane? Depressed? What about Ophelia? I’m excited to find out.”
“Put Hamlet/We player info on the Alcatraz/Park Service website (including background on Shakespeare and the play itself)”
Despite our partnership with the park, we are running into fields of red tape on this one.
Please consider sending this request to the Park Service!
A story from Stanley Williams who was executed at San Quentin in 2006: A friend snuck a rose petal in to him on a visit to death row. Stanley took it from her, held it in his palm for a minute, then put it in his mouth…and swallowed it. He told her he though it might be his last and only chance to connect with the natural world and he wanted to experience it fully.
How can I support you without giving money? / I would like to be of service, even if I can’t give money.
There are so many aspects to this project. We welcome your support, your talents, your thoughts, your questions. Please write to firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us what you're interested in, what aspects of the project ignite you, and we will find a fit. YES. We want your help.
Can we tie race into the picture?
Yes please. This begs a longer response...perhaps a blog post unto itself...
More opportunities like this for fans and supporters to get together and get to know We Players better. Doesn’t have to be as lush as this one, even a pot-luck would do.
Salons / work-in-progress / conversations this spring. Stay tuned here.
I’ve left out most of the general praise and support of we comments – though we thank you truly – oh but here are a few anyway...
Take good care of yourselves throughout this process and KNOW that you are serving this community in a profound way.
I can’t wait to see the show! Your company is singular in making these spaces available through a trans-historical yet extremely current performance tradition. Bravo!
This has been magical.
I’ve never attended an event such as this. I have nothing to add or change.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Thursday, February 11, 2010
HAMLET is particularly suited to the island for many reasons. It is a story of a man in isolation wrestling with conscience and consciousness, and is fraught with themes of grief, madness, loss, revenge - all of which extend from the core project themes of isolation, incarceration, and justice. We hope that the play, centered around these issues, will act as a catalyst for conversation.
The root of this conversation is about FREEDOM.
What is it to be free? Is it something that can be granted or taken away?
Or is it something more fundamentally personal than that?
How must I act? To do or not to do?
The show will be built in such a way as to serve both the regular park visitors, with many elements occurring in public areas, as well as the designated audiences who we will guide through a carefully crafted route through the space.
We have already begun conversations artists and teachers who work with local justice advocacy groups, juvenile offenders and with people living in maximum security prisons. We are building partnerships, gathering research, collecting works of art – all of which will be central to the final stage of the residency, culminating in summer 2011.
The Players are a group of traveling actors within Hamlet – and in our production, the Players will be performing virtually non-stop in a public area. In addition to the classical text, they will perform a wide variety of other material which is intended to contextualize the themes…this text will include poetry and first hand materials by those people directly affected by the issues we are exploring - people in prison and their families. The Native American community has a deep connection with the island, and we are inviting their voice into the process as well.
Alcatraz has a magnetic draw. About 5000 people per day in the high season visit the fog enshrouded island in the San Francisco Bay. It is legendary both in the national landscape and within international awareness as well. Both We Players and the National Park Service are asking, “What experience are people having?”, “What are they coming away with?”. This project reflects a true partnership between We Players and the NPS as we join in the shared goal of stimulating more critical conversation of important current issues, issues that are entrenched in the multi-layered history of The Rock.
We feel a tremendous responsibility to those people whose lives are immediately affected by these issues. Please send us your thoughts, reading suggestions, direct us to organizations and individuals you think we should contact.
Write to: email@example.com
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Friday, February 5, 2010
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Antipasti marinated mushrooms, roasted red and yellow peppers, olives, cheeses, etc.
Potato Soup with wild-harvested mushrooms (thanks Pauly!)
Rabbit and Rooster or Vegetable Ragout with creamy polenta and side vegetable
Salad with blood oranges and candied walnuts
homemade Pistelles with candy-cap mushroom dust (tastes like maple sugar!)
visit the link in the left column to buy your tickets! see you there! We look forward to pleasing your pallets!
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Alcatraz, the Rock, 25 acres in size, is set in cold gray waters 1-1/4 mile from San Francisco. Even when it's hot in San Jose or Oakland, the cold winds across the rock never stop. It is truly a place of punishment, meant for the irredeemable.And from Merriam-Webster..
2 : to free from what distresses or harms: as a : to free from captivity by payment of ransom b : to extricate from or help to overcome something detrimental c : to release from blame or debt : clear d : to free from the consequences of sin
3 : to change for the better : reform
4 : repair, restore
5 a : to free from a lien by payment of an amount secured thereby b (1) : to remove the obligation of by payment 2) : to exchange for something of value
6 a : to atone for : expiate