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THOUSAND KITES

(The Play)

written by

Donna Porterfield




script contributors

Prisoners, Corrections Officers, and their respective families,

and people living in communities where prisons are sited


original music by

Ron Short, Carlton Turner, and Maurice Turner




dramaturge

Dudley Cocke

This play was developed as one part of the Holler to the Hood–Roadside Theater collaboration, Thousand Kites (www.thousandkites.org), a project of Appalshop, Inc., 91 Madison Ave., Whitesburg, KY 41858; 606.633.0108.

© Holler to the Hood/Roadside Theater 2007



OVERVIEW

This two-hour play has three Acts without intermission. Act I, approximately one hour, is scripted. Act II, approximately 40 minutes, builds on the first Act by turning to the audience for comments and testimony. In Act III, a moderator asks cast and audience to focus on actions to be taken based on the analysis flowing from the first two acts.


PLACE AND TIMEhere and now

CAST


Guard – adult male Prisoner – adult male

Chorus 1 – adult female Chorus 2 – adult male

Chorus 3 – adult female Chorus 4 – adult male, familiar with spoken word

Chorus 5 – preferably female, under age 30, familiar with spoken word

Schedule – adult female with authoritative voice

DJ – plays recorded music, may sing and play a musical instrument


STAGE SETTING
Stage right – Guard’s platform, or, when visible from the audience, a rectangular area delineated
by tape on the floor
Stage left – Prisoner’s platform, or, when visible from the audience, a rectangular area
delineated by tape on the floor

Center stage – Chorus area

Upstage left – DJ music station

Offstage – Microphone/PA system, with loud buzzer, through which Schedule makes

announcements; when offstage microphone/PA system is not available, see Schedule

note below
STAGING NOTES

Guard and Prisoner place themselves on their respective platforms (or in their respective taped boxes), which they do not leave. They do not acknowledge each other or the Chorus, and speak directly to the audience.

Chorus is free to move about the stage, but cannot enter the Guard’s or Prisoner’s space. They speak directly to each other and to the audience and indirectly to Prisoner and Guard.

Schedule, if visible to audience, is placed at a distance from cast and never acknowledges audience or cast.
OTHER NOTES

Buzzer – Should be timed to interrupt the play’s action with each interruption lasting for two

seconds.


Music Options – Provided in the Toolkit for Play Readings:

  • an audio recording of the play’s pre-show music.

  • an audio recording of the play’s songs and raps, performed by Kites performers, and song sheets of the full versions of these songs and raps.

    • If the play’s cast includes singers and rappers, this recording can be used to teach them the full songs and raps, which are abbreviated in the script. If the DJ is a musician and/or singer, she/he may join in the musical performances. All songs and raps may be re-arranged to fit the particular production.

    • If the play’s cast does not include singers and rappers, the cast should read the abbreviated versions of the songs and raps as printed in the script.

    • With the exception of pre-show music, playing recorded versions of the songs and raps as a substitution for reading or performing them is not recommended, as this will interrupt the flow of the play.



ACT I
Pre-show music: DJ plays the pre-recorded songs Thousand Kites and then Running ‘Round in Circles. If DJ is a musician, his/her live playing can end the pre-show segment.
(buzzer interrupts music)
SCHEDULE

I am Prison Schedule.

I regulate prison life.
(Without acknowledging each other, Guard & Prisoner rise from opposite sides of auditorium, walk to stage, cross, and take their separate positions, facing audience.)
GUARD

I am Guard. Not one guard, but many. I have one mouth, but speak with many voices. I have two ears, and I have heard many stories.


PRISONER

I am Prisoner. Not one prisoner, but many. I have one mouth, but speak with many voices. I have two ears, and I have heard many stories.


GUARD

I am tall, short, all shades of color . . .


PRISONER

male, female, vicious, (pause) kind . . .


GUARD & PRISONER (simultaneously)

don’t give a damn.


PRISONER

I do time.


GUARD

I do time in eight hour shifts.


PRISONER

I do time all the time.


(Chorus members rise and stand by their seats in the auditorium as they speak.)

CHORUS – 1

I am the public.
CHORUS – 2

I am the public.


CHORUS – 3

I am the public.


CHORUS – 4 (confrontationally)

I am the public.


CHORUS – 5 (intervening)

I am the public.


(Chorus 5 proceeds to the stage, then each Chorus member follows as they deliver their lines.)
CHORUS – 1

We are mothers.


CHORUS – 2

Fathers.
CHORUS – 3

Sisters.
CHORUS – 4

Brothers.


CHORUS – 5

We are the people who live in communities where 50 new prisons have been built every single year for the past 20 years.


CHORUS – 2

You gotta be kidding! You’re telling me that in the United States of America 50 new prisons have been built every year for the past 20 years? Who would believe that?!


CHORUS – 3

It’s a fact!


CHORUS – 1

We are the victims of crimes.

CHORUS – 2

We are the families of guards.


CHORUS – 4

We are the families of prisoners.


CHORUS – 3

That’s right.


CHORUS – 2

Not us.
CHORUS – 1

We’re good Christians – we don’t break the law.
CHORUS – 2

Nobody in my family ever gone to jail!


CHORUS – 3

Hey, wait a minute! My son is in prison, and he’s a good man. Not everybody in prison is bad.


CHORUS – 2

Not everybody in prison is good! You do the crime, you do the time.


CHORUS – 4

Yeah, I used to think that way, until my child landed in jail for a little bit of nothing, and all his friends went free as birds!

CHORUS – 5

Point: We live in the United States of America where one out of every 100 of us has done . . .


CHORUS – ALL

time.
(buzzer)


SCHEDULE

Schedule

Maximum Security

State

2:00am

Pick-Up Mail From Buildings
CHORUS – 1 (as mother, moving toward Guard)

I can’t say my son was a perfect child, but he grew up to be a good man.


CHORUS – 2 (as father, moving toward Guard)

He was the first one in our family to ever go to college. Said he didn’t want to spend his life working in the coal mines and end up broken-down like his daddy done.


CHORUS – 1

No sir, he wanted a state job.


CHORUS – 2

He wanted benefits.


CHORUS – 1

He wanted to be a park ranger!


CHORUS – 2

Well, it turned out there weren’t any forest ranger jobs to be had . . .


CHORUS – 1

so somebody said, “Why don’t you come to work at the new prison. It’s a government job.”


CHORUS – 2

So he went clear to the other end of the state


CHORUS – 1

and took the prison training.


GUARD

I started out at one of the older maximum security state prisons. We had no weapons – just keys. If the keys were taken from you, everything could be lost.


My first day on the job, I was assigned to let the inmates on the second tier pass through the gate to go eat. The Lead Officer was stationed a floor above me. He was supposed to flip open two cells at a time. Then I was supposed to unlock the tier gate, let the two prisoners pass through, lock the gate back, and wait for him to unlock the next two cells.
I took my place by the gate as I was instructed, but the Lead Officer flipped the master switch and let all of them, all 88 of them, out of their cells at once. I threw my keys under the locked tier gate as I’d been trained to do. I was now responsible for getting every single one of the 88 back into their cells. Remember, I had no weapon. There are no words to describe the way I felt. I had never been locked in with 88 men who would just as soon see me dead. But I maintained my post by the gate, and somehow, I don’t know how, got them all back in their cells.
When it was all over, I stormed up to the Lead Officer’s post and grabbed hold of the rail in front of him to keep from strangling him. I fully intended to kill the son-of-a-bitch. He just laughed, said, “Looks like you didn’t wet yourself, or cry like a baby. You might make it here.”
(buzzer)
SCHEDULE

3:35am

Prisoner Kitchen Workers In-Place
PRISONER

“If you cause any kind of trouble, I’ll shoot you.” That was my welcome to the super-max from the Corrections Officer as I got off the bus. Then he yanked my eyeglasses from my face, said, “These are dangerous contraband.”


I was shackled at the ankles. My hands were cuffed in front of me and chained to my waist with a belly chain. The C.O., who was wielding a shotgun, yells, “This ain’t church, this ain’t school, and it ain’t a place to rehabilitate yourself. It’s prison.”
I knelt on the floor and a slot in the door, about three feet from the ground, opened. I was ordered to stick my hands through it, and the cuffs were removed. “Now strip,” a voice barked. What he said next and what I had to do was so vile I’ll not repeat it. I will tell you what I was thinking: It won’t be fun when the rabbit gets the gun. No sir, it won’t.
CHORUS – 3 (as mother of prisoner)

When my son was incarcerated, he was in college, and I wanted to keep him going. My whole attitude was, though he is in prison, prison does not have to be in him.


CHORUS – 4 (as father of prisoner)

But when he first went to prison, he refused to see us.


CHORUS – 3

He felt his life was over.


CHORUS – 4

That first year, I didn’t think he’d make it . . . I thought he’d kill himself.


CHORUS – 3

We are a close, religious family, and we refused – absolutely refused – to give-up. We kept coming to visit him – his brothers and aunts and uncles – everybody.


CHORUS 5

A voice for the voiceless

I represent the ones that yearn to be heard

So every word is a testimony

This one is for my homie

Locked up and wondering

How can we fix this system

That got so many locked in prison

Brothers and fathers missin’

Wifies and mothers kissin’

Pictures of prodigal sons

Praying for their return

Learning to live without ‘em

Never forget about ‘em

But it’s hard when he’s nineteen years old

No chance for parole


CHORUS – 4

Nothing to lose so it’s just another night in the hole

The only way to console the fears of dying here

Is to pray and put pen to paper

Show that he’s trying here

To make the most of the worst

Break the curse of this nation

Hooked on incarceration

21st century plantations

I fly a thousand kites for my homies

With the hope that this message and these blessings reach all my homies
CHORUS – 5

And it’s sad that us community fail to see

That we accept the policy

That proves democracy to be hypocrisy

Building cages for babies

Why try to teach them or reach them before mistakes can be made

There’s way too much money to be made

We all just getting played

While the rich keep getting paid

It’s time we examine the reason these laws have been made


CHORUS – 4

I fly a thousand kites for my homies

With the hope that this message and these blessings reach all my homies
CHORUS – 5

I fly a thousand kites for my homies

With the hope that this message and these blessings reach . . .
( buzzer)
SCHEDULE

5:00am

Insulin

Finger Sticks and Shots
CHORUS – 2

I raised my kids in a place out in the country, and crime just never played a role in our life. I mean it really didn’t. I would leave my keys in the front door so I’d know where they were!


CHORUS – 3

Crime? In the city, it’s hard to tell who’s the worst – the gangs or the police. Every day, I feel like my babies are being hunted like animals.


CHORUS – 1

My baby sister, who I raised, is on the needle. Yesterday I had to go to court with her. Right when we were ready to go up before the judge, she grabs hold of my arm, whispers, “Don’t worry, I’m Wonder Woman.” Uh huh, actually said she was Wonder Woman – that nothing could harm her.


CHORUS – 2

Then she whispers in my ear, “I just bought two new tires for my Chevy Cavalier. You know, to out-run the police! Don’t tell.”


CHORUS – 1

Well, I’ve known the judge most all of my life, and I was talking to him, and I’m like “What are we going to do about this situation here? She’s crazy! We need to go ahead and get her incarcerated. She can’t stop using.


CHORUS – 2

She won’t.”


CHORUS – 1

And he’s like, “It’s just the system. Can’t rush it up. She comes from a good home . . . blah, blah, blah.”


CHORUS – 4

Here recently – in the space of a year – I went to two funerals for kids in their twenties. One was a kid who hanged himself in jail, and the other was a drug overdose. And I happened to mention this to a young girl that I know. I said, “When I was your age, I didn’t know anybody my age who had died.” And she said,


CHORUS – 5

“I couldn’t tell you the number of my friends who are either dead or in jail.”


CHORUS – 3

Dead or in jail.


CHORUS – 1

One’s dead.

PRISONER

I wanna be a criminal when I grow up

‘cause criminals live good and have all the luck.

I can’t have a bike ‘cause my mom’s too poor

and my dad’s been gone since I was 3 or 4.

And what’s all the fuss about going to school

when getting A’s and B’s don’t seem too cool?

I’m not feelin’ school ‘cause I need to get money,

plus I know ‘bout the streets so I ain’t no dummy.

I already been to jail and it wasn’t too bad

and after the first few days, Mom wasn’t that mad.

I’ve seen a helluva lot to just be in my teens

so I’m really a man with criminal dreams.
I know the drug game will really pay off

but I gotta get a gun to prove I’m not soft.

Look at all this cash and I don’t have a job

And when things get slow I got the gun to rob.

I’m a gangsta now so I will pull the trigger

besides, who cares about another dead figger?

I don’t know anything about this legal stuff

and I hate wearing these tight-assed cuffs.

I better take “the plea” ‘cause I can’t beat the case.

They had too many people identify my face.

Everyone that I call has a block on their phone,

but how can that be when I was so well known?

I got a fat old judge and they say he’s mean

and I never saw this in my criminal dreams.


I’m in prison now and it’s not what I thought

If I wasn’t getting high, I would’ve never got caught.

I gotta hurt the first one who steps out of line

but if I hurt him too bad, I’m gonna run up my time.

The word seems to be “don’t go to the hole”

My life sure changed since that first day I stole.

Last year a man got shot for fighting

but it’s not really news ‘cause nobody’s writing.

If I stay up late, I can hear the screams

but I never heard them in my criminal dreams.


( buzzer)
SCHEDULE

5:30am

Pill Call

General Population in vestibule; Segregation in Pod

CHORUS – 4

When they took my son to the jail, he was in a wheelchair because he had just had both of his knees replaced. He was put in a real little room where there were no beds nor nothin’. He spent four weeks on the floor. I done ok at the jail, but once I got back to the house and realized that I probably wouldn’t live to see him come home . . .
CHORUS – 1

They took my baby sister, who was on the needle, from the courtroom up to the jail. Then I tried to find out things, but I could not find out anything. So I went on home. And she called, said there were eight people in her cell, with no bed – no pillow. As a child, she always slept with three pillows. So we got back in the car and went to Walmart and bought her a pillow. I took it out to the jail, but the officer at the desk said,


CHORUS – 2

“No, we do not allow that.”


CHORUS – 1

Just one pillow?


CHORUS – 2

She never hurt nobody.


(buzzer)
SCHEDULE

6:00am

Breakfast

Segregation Food Cart Delivered

General Population According To Feeding Schedule
CHORUS – 4

Prison food – my son says you’ll end up with the weirdest stuff being served to you. Not food, so much, but like condiments. You’ll get O’Charley’s ketchup – McDonalds napkins. Companies are using it as tax write-offs.


CHORUS – 5

I used to eat with the same guys. One of them was originally from Cambodia. We closely inspected our food for hair, bugs, and mud. The Cambodian guy always gave me his milk. I’d tell him, “Why don’t you drink it – at least it’s something they can’t mess with.” He says, “How in the world can you drink that stuff? They treat us like animals and then feed us pet food.” I said, “What are you talking about, pet food?” He says, “Look at the carton of milk, man. Right there it says, “Pet Milk.”

PRISONER

You want to know what my day is like?

Well it starts at five-thirty with that bright ass light.

Next comes breakfast at six-thirty

The coffee’s cold and the tray is dirty.
First call for showers and rec,

C.O. already checking my set.

I break sweat.

Nothing new to them shaking my cell down.

Happens all the time.

Still messes with my mind.


CHORUS – 5

Go out the yard for a break and come back,

Now it’s time to hit the sack.

Wake up an hour later

to some cold cuts for lunch.

I think it’s turkey bologna,

But that’s just a hunch.
PRISONER

Then I get my read on with the tv on,

Gotta see my soaps.

Damn! Victor done fired Phyllis

for sleepin’ with Nick.

Sharon’s pissed,

but is anyone left that she’s not kissed?
Then it’s read, sleep, eat, stand,

Inappropriate behavior with my hand.

Hey, it happens,

No need for the snappin’!


CHORUS – 5

Six-thirty mail call.

Everyone stands,

Many knowin’ it’s just a mirage.


PRISONER

At 11 I catch the news, Jay Leno,

a little Jimmy Kimmell Live.

Yeah, no lie, I stay up late

but only for Blind Date.

CHORUS – 5

So that’s a day in the life of a convicted felon.
PRISONER

I’ve been doing time eleven years for not tellin’.


Enough talk, I got to get some rest.

I’ll wake up tomorrow same place, same stress.


CHORUS – 5

Day in, day out, same plight,


PRISONER

Same bright ass light.


( buzzer)
SCHEDULE

8:30am

Prisoner Count

Standing
GUARD

If you step across the red painted line without permission, it will be considered an act of aggression and will result in the use of firepower.


PRISONER

All of this was new to me, but you can bet I caught on fast. I guess you could say that prison is a poor man’s college – the school of life. You learn about surviving, because at any given time you can be killed.


GUARD

If you approach any person too fast, it will be considered an act of aggression and will result in the use of firepower.


PRISONER

The officers don’t give a damn what happens to you. They’re here for eight hours. If an inmate was to be killed in that eight hours, they still get their pay check and go home to their families.


GUARD

A lot of the inmates, when they come in here, they come from the cities up north. Most of the corrections officers are white and most of the inmates are black. It bothers the prisoners, you know. They say, “You’re a white person. You’re guarding me, and you know it’s not right because I’m black.” They think we’re KKK, or something like that.

PRISONER

The first time I let a fellow inmate borrow five dollars, he didn’t pay me back. So I went to an Old Head and told him about it. He asked me, did I want to lose the respect I had? So I went to this dude, who had my five dollars, and beat the crap out of him. I did it in front of everybody ‘cause I wanted everyone to see I was for real. I was put in the hole for ten days. When I got out of the hole, I was told that the dude that owed me the five dollars had been turn’ into a punk. Sure enough at chow time, the new owner of this punk comes up to me and pays me back the five dollars. So that was the end of another lesson learned.


GUARD

Who’s weak and who ain’t matters in prison.


PRISONER

That’s what it’s all about.


( buzzer)
SCHEDULE

9:00am

Outside Recreation General Population

Rotate Building Commissary
CHORUS – 3

When they incarcerate your child, they incarcerate the whole family. Before that happened to me, I never voted. My family never voted. We just stayed home, minded our own business. Now I’ve wound up at the state capitol talking to the senators and delegates, and really, I see they’re no better than we are. They’re climbing a political ladder, trying to look good to the public out here, but they’re not concentrating on what’s important.


CHORUS – 4

The prison only gives my son two rolls of toilet paper and a cake of soap a month! Everything else he has to buy at the prison canteen. We have to send him $100 a week, because they charge such ridiculous prices.


CHORUS – 3

To talk to a loved one in prison, you might as well take out a bank loan. The prison charges us $4.00 to hook up each call, and 89 cents a minute.


CHORUS – 4

Good Lord, do they think we’re millionaires?!



(Lively, upbeat)
CHORUS – 3

Rogues in the White House,

Thieves in the hall,

They all join hands,

At the Scoundrel’s Ball.
CHORUS – 4

They dance around,

Day after day,

When it’s time to pay the fiddler,

Guess who pays?
CHORUS – 1

Found a big meth lab,

In the house next door.

And Walmart built,

A Sup-er-Store.
CHORUS – 2

Gonna build another “Super-Max”,

Prison they say,

Ever’things Super,

“Round here today.
CHORUS – 1,2,3,4

Rogues in the White House,

Thieves in the hall,

They all join hands,

At the Scoundrel’s Ball.
CHORUS – 5

They dance around,

Day after day,

When it’s time to pay the fiddler,

Guess who pays?
( buzzer)
SCHEDULE

11:00am

Lunch

Segregation Food Cart Delivered

Meals Fed In Pods
GUARD

You’ll get two people with the same offense sentenced in entirely different ways, where one will get two years and one will get 18 years – no parole.


CHORUS – 2

It’s all according to what’s hot in the judge’s jurisdiction.


GUARD

If everybody’s worried about methamphetamine, then that’s who gets the big sentences – bigger than murderers sometimes.


When I first started working at the super-max, all the prisoners came here to the mountains from far away – most from the cities. But that’s changing – mostly because there’s no funding in our community for substance abuse treatment.
CHORUS – 2

It’s not popular.


GUARD

So, they put ‘em in prison.


The other day, a new inmate gave me a strange look and called me by my full name. Turned out he was a boy I went to school with over on Caney Ridge. I never would have known him – he looked as old as my daddy . . .
GUARD

I don’t see no faces.

I don’t feel no pain.

Population, civilian

They’re all the same.
CHORUS – 1

Heard somebody call my name


GUARD

Black and white,

Rich and poor

Thief, murderer,

The boy next door.
CHORUS – 1 & 2

Heard somebody call my name


CHORUS – 5

Through all this grief, despair and pain,

I heard somebody call my name!

GUARD


Can’t talk to my father

Can’t talk to my wife

They’re living their lives

While I’m doing life.


CHORUS – ALL

Heard somebody call my name


GUARD

I keep having this dream,

And I awake with a shout.

I get to the gate and I can’t get out.


CHORUS – ALL

Heard somebody call my name


CHORUS – 5

Through all this grief, despair and pain,

I head somebody call my name!
( buzzer)
SCHEDULE

1:30pm

Prisoner Count

Standing
PRISONER

I work in the library. I’m one of the few who has a job. Most of these guys have to stay in their cells all day with nothing to do. Every time I’m escorted to the library, they do a strip search. One of the guards obviously has issues. While he’s conducting his search, he looks very closely at all the wrong places and sweats profusely. Sometimes he’s eating popcorn . . .


CHORUS – 4

. . . like it’s dinner and a movie for him.


GUARD

Some prisoners you never hear a peep out of. They’re no different from you or me. And there are those who get in trouble most every day. They end up in segregation.


PRISONER

When I was in the hole, the guy in the next cell threw his tray on the officer. I thought to myself, this guy must be crazy! Thirty minutes goes by, then all I could hear was this guy begging the officers not to beat him anymore. I could hear him crying like a little girl. You see, if you do something to one of these officers, they’re not going to fight you one on one. They are going to come at you ten strong.


GUARD

Adrenalin takes over when there is a dangerous incident with an inmate. But I must keep a cool head, a stone face, never raise my voice, stand my ground, never ever show fear. Afterwards, when I’m filling out the incident report, my hands shake so bad I have to write it over three times. But I never let anyone know this. Nobody. Not even my wife.


CHORUS – 1 (as mother of Guard)

Me and my husband and my son and daughter-in-law had always been church-going people. We were faithful, going to church most every night of the week. But it got to where my son didn’t really care that much about going to church.


Chorus – 2

When he came home from work, he spent most of his time on the telephone talking to the people he worked with at the prison.


CHORUS – 1

He pulled away from his wife, his children, from everything – just left us behind.


CHORUS – 2

That prison life became his whole life.


GUARD

My brother and me were working minimum wage jobs until we got on at the prison. Not long after we started, I could see my brother wasn’t going to stick with it. He’d say to me,


CHORUS – 2

“The prisoners hate us.”


GUARD

I’d tell him, “They have their own world, and we don’t enter into it.” And he’d say, “Don’t you see how these people live? Young people, old people, different colors – and a lot of them in here for life?


CHORUS – 2

It’s a sad, hopeless place to work.”


GUARD

So he quit and started mowing grass with a push lawn mower and a weed eater out of the back of his car.


CHORUS – 1

Says he’s a whole lot poorer now, but a lot more satisfied.


GUARD

Me – I feel like I’m protecting my family and neighbors – society. I don’t ever want to see any of my family the victim of a rape or murder or a child molester. I do whatever it takes to walk away from a prisoner filled with pride and anger who is baiting me. But when this doesn’t work and an attack ensues, I’d rather be tried by 13 than carried by 6.


SCHEDULE

Visitation Dress Regulations

“Visitors may wear casual dress that is reasonable and appropriate. The Department reserves the right to refuse admittance to inappropriately dressed visitors. The body must be covered. Hems, slits, or splits of dresses, skirts, shorts, etc. may not exceed four inches above mid-knee. Underwear is required. No halter tops, tank tops, or tube tops. No pocketbooks, handbags, or wallets are allowed in the visiting room. Males dressed as females will not be admitted.”


GUARD

Families – and mamas in particular – they see their kids like they were when they were little. The mamas don’t see the things their sons do in here. During visitation, some families come up and rake me over the coals for being mean to their little boys. And then there are others who tell me to beat the crap out of their kid because last week he talked bad to them on the phone! I’m serious!


CHORUS – 3

When we go to see my son, we leave home after I get off work and drive all night. My husband and daughter-in-law, and her two babies, go with us. We get to the prison about 6 the next morning. They don’t open up until 8:30, so we sit and wait.


CHORUS – 4

If we find out they’re in lock-down and there’s no visitation that day, we just have to turn around and drive all day to get back home.


CHORUS – 3

The first time we went to see our son, we hadn’t seen him in five years because it was so far to come, and we had no way to get there. When I finally saw him, I was like, “What’s the shackles all about?”


CHORUS – 5

Negativity is engraved

In the mind of the slave

Who walks around the prison yards

Content in his grave

He don’t want to be saved

Becuz he’s afraid of life

He’d rather hold tight

While his fam visit the sight

And drop flowers off

In the form of currency

Cause currently

He’s lying six under feet
CHORUS – 4

Our fears get fed

As our tears is shed

We want to see him alive

But he’s here instead

Words get said

In ways that seem kinda scary

Letters are wrote and read

Like obituaries

I miss you son

I miss you brother and friend

I hold time that was spent

In good remembrance
CHORUS – 5

When he call on the phone

They speak to his ghost

Sometimes mom’s voice crack

Cause she miss him the most

His kids need him the most

Yeah they’re feeling the pain

They only know daddy

Becuz they remember his name

CHORUS – 4

It’s a crying shame

That’s why stains be on pillows

And weeping willows

Mourn for his black widow

CHORUS – 5

But he’s subzero

And frozen to the fact

That he needs to rise out of this

Inhabitat! And get back

To life! Where good things live


CHORUS – 4

In order to get to heaven

Hell is what he gotta give

CHORUS – 5

His bid is

A far cry from home

His state number is the

Tombstone!

To mark where they buried his

Bones…


CHORUS – 4

Grave


CHORUS – 5

Prison


CHORUS – 4

Yards.
( buzzer)


SCHEDULE

3:00pm

Insulin

Finger Sticks and Shots
CHORUS – 1

I never dreamed of a child of mine working in a prison, much less my baby sister being in prison. I just never thought about prison – it was someone else’s problem. And now I know to pray for them – each and every one of them – every day.


CHORUS – 4

At my son’s prison, there’s a mentally retarded fellow who’s done eight years on 15. This man comes from a big family – lots of little brothers and sisters – and they live too far away to ever visit.


CHORUS – 3

Each year at Christmas time we can order little packages from the prison commissary to be given to our son – for a gift, you know. This year, my son calls me and asks if we can send him some extra money for postage. He said that he and a couple other inmates were saving their little packages and sending them to this retarded fellow’s family – because those packages were the only Christmas they’d get.


CHORUS – 4

So if that family’s whole Christmas is coming from packages that were given to inmates in prison . . . well, you can just imagine . . .


PRISONER


Sparkling coils of razor-tipped ribbon

Atop a metal mesh of fence

Freshly washed by rain

The glint of sun on gray metal

Glistening helix with tiny teeth
It catches my eye for a moment

I am trapped within

My eye can soar to the heavens

My heart is blind to the scene

My mind is struck with a memory
Ribbon of wire with tiny teeth

Carefully designed to cut cloth and flesh

Now catches sparks of sun

A scintillation, a moment’s hesitation

Helices bejeweled with diamonds
I seek the treasure in the trap
GUARD

The joy in the despair


PRISONER

The peace of a simple life


GUARD

The beauty that was not intended


PRISONER

But can be seen and kept as a gift.


GUARD

A gift.
( buzzer)


SCHEDULE

5:30pm

Segregation Food Cart Delivered
(buzzer)

PRISONER


This place ain’t about rehabilitation; it’s about fear; it’s about anger; it’s about humiliation; it’s about power – who’s got it and who ain’t.
GUARD

It’s about staying strong


GUARD & PRISONER

no matter what happens.


(Chorus steps forward together.)
CHORUS – 4

Don’t we
CHORUS – 1

the Public
CHORUS – 5

have a say?


(buzzer)
(Prisoner, Guard, and Chorus exit to audience.)

ACT II
There is no intermission. The end of Act I provides the occasion for the cast and audience to tell their own stories about their experiences with the criminal justice system.
This approximately 40 minute discussion is moderated by an individual who ensures that everyone feels free to tell their story from their own experiences. Differences of opinion are welcomed with the instruction that mutual respect for differences must always be shown.
Toward the end of Act II the moderator listens for mention of actions, which he or she can use as a segue to Act III

ACT III
In Act III, the moderator asks cast and audience to focus on actions to be taken based on the analysis flowing from the first two acts.
Whenever possible, the evening ends with everyone joining in a song led by the DJ.

MODERATOR – DISCUSSION GUIDELINE


  • At the conclusion of Act I

    • Thank the cast for taking the time to rehearse and perform Act 1.

    • Thank the people who are sponsoring the evening.

    • Mention:

      • The poems, raps, and stories in the performance come from prisoners, corrections officers, and their many loved ones.

      • Thousand Kites will continue to gather stories and help convene public conversations about the criminal justice system.

      • The audience can go to the Kites website (www.thousandkites.org)

        • to meet others interested in the issues raised tonight

        • to download the play script

        • to share their own stories and experiences

        • to read the stories of others

        • and much more

      • The Kites website address is listed on the printed material on the tables by the doors.




  • Now begin Act II (the audience conversation) by saying something like:

    • “Now is the chance for each of you to tell all of us how your personal story

connects to the experiences portrayed in the play. Who would like to begin?”

    • Toward the end of Act II the moderator listens for mention of actions, which he

or she can use as a segue to Act III


  • Act III

    • Moderator asks cast and audience to focus on actions to be taken based on the analysis flowing from the first two acts.

    • If possible, end with everyone joining in a song led by the DJ.


THE END


Updated 10/09/12, Thousand Kites, page of


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