What’s it about?

REPAIR will engage formerly incarcerated men in Berkshire County, Massachusetts, in the development of a live, full-length show integrating storytelling, music, and movement.  Through the process of crafting real-life stories, the participants are invited to reflect on their lived experience, take ownership over their narratives, derive meaning from obstacles they have overcome, and utilize their past experiences to educate and inspire their community.

The goals of REPAIR are:

  • Using the power of live performance, to provide an outlet for formerly incarcerated men to share their stories and life experiences through devising and shaping an entirely original piece of theater.
  • To educate the public on the issues of incarceration and re-entry in a highly personal way and challenge our stereotyping of this population.

REPAIR is a companion to Using Our Outside Voices, a publication of a collection of poetry, short fiction, and other literary work by presently or formerly incarcerated individuals in Berkshire County planned for 2024, and Insight Out, a juried exhibition at the Berkshire Museum of visual art created by presently or formerly incarcerated individuals in Berkshire County held in September of 2023.

More importantly, though, REPAIR is being launched in response to the huge success of RELEASE, which is essentially the same project, but focusing on the stories of formerly incarcerated women.  Each of the three performances of RELEASE were attended by 80 – 100 people, most of whom stayed for the very powerful talk backs after each performance.

When and where will it be performed?

Performances will take place at Robert Boland Theatre at Berkshire Community College on August 12 and 13, 2024, and will be free and open to the public.  Each performance will be followed by a talk-back, where audience members can ask the cast questions directly, facilitating community dialogue. 

What’s the process?

The goal of the project is to create a performance piece through collaboration that shines light on and dispels the stereotypes and misconceptions about the community of men who, previously incarcerated, are pushing through the obstacles of addiction, loss, and a lack of resources to find meaning, community and success in their lives. The process is designed to first and foremost give participants agency and ownership over the material generated. The process will be divided into 4 phases:

 Phase 1 – Generating Material.  Telling stories, conducting interviews and sharing dreams and inspiration through writing and talking prompts, images and music for participants in May and June.  These sessions are being filmed, with the footage is used to gather inspiration for material in the final performance piece.

Phase 2- Structuring.  In June and July, the project’s directors will collaborate to discover narrative threads, identify themes, and build the world of the performance piece through the material the participants have generated. A script will be structured and five professional actors with a background in devising theater will be hired to begin rehearsing and further developing the performance piece at The Foundry, a multidisciplinary performing arts space in West Stockbridge, MA.

Phase 3 – Rehearsal.  The 2nd Street participants will be invited to attend any and all of the rehearsal process and the hope is to have all of the creators of the performance come together for at least one session to share their thoughts and ideas in the rehearsal space. This phase will also include technical rehearsals where we will integrate lighting, sound and costume elements. 

Phase 4 – Performance.  Dress/Tech rehearsals from August 9, 10, and 11, with performances on August 12 and 13. 

Who are the directors?

Co-directors/facilitators Amy Brentano and Sara Katzoff are an intergenerational collaborative team of devised theater makers who have created together for over a decade. As directors, educators and playwrights they have worked with professional actors, elders, teenagers, and immigrant communities in the Berkshires and beyond. They share a background in physical theater and a common belief that live performance can serve as a catalyst toward widening perspectives and healing divides. Recent collaborations include: WAM Theater, Bard College at Simon’s Rock, Multicultural Bridge, The Millbrook School, Barrington Stage, 10X10 Festival, Kickwheel Ensemble Theater, Bazaar Productions, Inc. and artists residencies at The Foundry, a multidisciplinary arts venue in West Stockbridge, MA.

With Gratitude

2nd Street acknowledges with gratitude the financial and in-kind support of this project provided by:

  • Berkshire Community College
  • Berkshire Bank
  • Feigenbaum Foundation
  • Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation’s Arts Build Community initiative with funding from the Barr Foundation
  • James and Irene Hunter Family Fund
  • First Avenue Fund
  • St. John’s Episcopal Church of Williamstown
  • The Foundry, West Stockbridge, MA