Saturday, January 22, 2005


SHAKESPEARE BEHIND BARS follows an all-male Shakespeare company working behind bars at Kentucky’s Luther Luckett Correctional Complex. For one year a cast comprised of convicted felons rehearse and perform a full production of Shakespeare’s last play, The Tempest, a play fittingly about forgiveness.

Marking their seventh year as an acting ensemble in the film, the inmates cast themselves according to their lives and in relation to the crimes for which they are serving a prison sentence. Just as in Shakespeare’s day, men play all the female roles. They swear that the roles “pick them”, and this proves to be an uncanny truth, as many of the men experience powerful epiphanies while exploring their characters. Twice a week, the inmates work with volunteer director Curt Tofteland, who pushes them to find their own truth within each part.

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