STATE OF INCARCERATION (2011), Highways Performance Space, Santa Monica


In a performance space filled wall-to-wall with prison bunk beds, performers and audience share overcrowded conditions akin to a California state prison. One-third of the state’s parolees settle in the 55 square blocks of Los Angeles known as Skid Row, and State of Incarceration—developed collaboratively by LAPD’s Skid Row artists and in dialogue with organizers and recent parolees—powerfully examines the consequences of California’s penal system on individuals, families and communities. Outlining a ritual of incarceration from entry to release and re-integration, State of Incarceration constructs a complex challenge to the societal perceptions and fear-based policies of a nation with the highest rate of incarceration in the world.

State of Incarceration explores the consequence of incarceration on people, families and communities. The US has the highest rate of incarceration in the world, California has the greatest number of prisoners in the US and 33% of parolees released to the Los Angeles area settle in the 52 square block neighborhood of Skid Row. LAPD, a theater company of people living and working in Skid Row Los Angeles, is in a strategic place for undertaking this exploration.  Many of the creator / performers in State of Incarceration have been incarcerated.

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