The Larry Neal Award-Winning Play, Prison Poetry, Shakes Up The Black Experience
Prison Poetry follows the lives of three men from three different generations when they share the same jail cell for one night. Their differences are exposed through confrontation and their similarities are revealed through poetry.
Interview with Zarinah Shakir of Islamic Perspectives
For Immediate Release
WASHINGTON/EWORLDWIRE/Feb. 16, 2006 — The explosive play Prison Poetry written by Papi Kymone Freeman, directed by critically acclaimed actor Clayton LeBouef, premieres on February 25, 2006 at the Historic Lincoln Theatre in Washington, D.C.
Prison Poetry follows the lives of three men from three different generations when they share the same jail cell for one night. No one knows or inquires to the charges that have placed them there. Their differences are exposed through confrontation and their similarities are revealed through poetry.
The elder Shujaa and recent law school graduate Tobias exemplify the class struggle and the tension between the architects of the civil rights movement and the ones who simply inherited it. Whereas Poet and Tobias best represent the great divide between the modern reactions of black people to the “new and improved” America. The combination presents a holistic point of view of the thoughts, desires and tragic circumstances that often derail, distract or destroy many young black men’s lives in this country.
Many of the issues addressed in this play go far beyond the perimeters of the black experience. Incarceration, in its many social, economic, cultural and artistic manifestations is becoming increasingly central and normal in American society. This controversial work provides often ignored points of view and commentary against the backdrop of a prison.
Freeman (writer/producer) is founder of the National Black LUV Festival recognized as a Washington, D.C. 2006 Mayor’s Art Award Finalist for Excellence in Service to the Arts. Author of a book of poetry entitled, “Blood Sweat & Tears,” he has performed at the Carter Barron, Lincoln Memorial and in Nairobi, Kenya. He studied under the legendary independent filmmaker Haile Gerima. Freeman produces his screenplay, “Starrchildren” in 2007.
LeBouef made his television debut portraying Haile Sellassie in the WMAR/BALT Arena Players production of The Eagle & The Lion. Since then, he’s starred in The Corner (HBO), The Wire, Law & Order and with Something The Lord Made with Mos Def and Gabriel Union. For six years, LeBouef portrayed Colonel George Barnfather, in NBC’s Homicide: Life on the Street.
Duane C. Rawlings (Shujaa) has appeared in Baltimore’s Theatre Project and Arena Players. His film credits include a starring role in BET’s Multitude of Mercies and the HBO drama series The Corner and The Wire.
W. Ellington Felton (Tobias) studied theater at Carnegie Mellon University. He has starred in Rhyme Deferred, performed at the Kennedy Center, the National Black Theater Festival, Source Theatre and the Nuyorican Poets Café. Felton graced the silver screen in Spike Lee’s, Breakfast at Ben’s and 2005 BET’s “Multitude of Mercies.”
Baye Harrell (Poet), making his theatrical debut at the Lincoln Theatre, is the other half of the hip hop based group, Hueman Prophets. Harrell hones his skills as a keyboardist, saxophonist and began acting in 2002.