SERVING LIFE:  PROJECT COMPONENT

RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW

 

A cycle of 30 monologues sharing stories from death row and designed as a community reading for installation openings, conferences, classes, and events. 

 

 

PLAYING SOLITARY: CYCLE OF INCARCERATION (JADE)

Sometimes we woke up and my mom wasn’t home from the club. So, I'd pour my baby brother and me a bowl of Frosted Flakes. Then we’d climb inside the closet, place the TV in the doorway, and sit there, hunched over our cereal. Two preschoolers. Know what we called it? "Playing solitary."The first time I went to prison I was only three months old. My mom took me to visit my father. Shoot, not just my father, everybody--grandmas, aunts, uncles--they all did time. I remember them sitting around talking about “the box.” I’d soak it up like a sponge. Even as a little kid, I knew “snitches get stitches.”I knew the weak get robbed for their property. I remember waking up after a citywide blackout to find our apartment full of looted merchandise, courtesy of what my family called the “five finger discount.”By six, I was stealing plums from the produce market. Plums were quite a treat for a kid whose family didn't have money for luxuries like fresh fruit. The first time my mom came to visit me in prison, she just stood, looking around, like "ain't nothing change." It was the same prison where my father had been locked up. Yeah. Ain’t nothin’ change. Trust me, I was a convict long before I ever did time.

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“So, talking about my dad, I always get a lump in my throat. It would have been nice to be able to say good-bye.”

“So, talking about my dad, I always get a lump in my throat. It would have been nice to be able to say good-bye.”

“It was the most exciting night of my three-year-old life. A crowd had gathered around two teenage girls. They were fighting. One was my mother.”

“It was the most exciting night of my three-year-old life. A crowd had gathered around two teenage girls. They were fighting. One was my mother.”

“I think a part of me is still standing on that third step.The part that was innocent. And was about to learn: trust no one.”

“I think a part of me is still standing on that third step.The part that was innocent. And was about to learn: trust no one.”

But if no one’s there to listen:even the loudest screams fail to make a sound.

But if no one’s there to listen:even the loudest screams fail to make a sound.

 

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REVIEWS and ARTICLES:

“We found the play and the talkback to be quite engaging, and we heartily recommend both. Count: Stories from America’s Death Rows is co-produced by Hidden Voices, a collective founded by playwright Lynden Harris, which describes itself as “a radically inclusive, participatory, and co-creative collective committed to creating just, compassionate, and sustainable relationships.”  by PAMELA VESPER AND KURT BENRUD • AUGUST 24, 2017

http://triangleartsandentertainment.org/2017/08/counts-six-highly-skilled-actors-create-a-chillingly-real-death-row-pod-at-prc/

http://playmakersrep.org/press/unc-process-series-presents-count-lynden-harris-hidden-voices/

https://indyweek.com/culture/archives/theater-review-count-dispels-anesthetic-distance-death-row/