JACK & (photo courtesy Christopher Myers)

The United States has only 5% of the world’s population, but it holds a quarter of the world’s prisoners. With over two million people locked up behind bars, the US has the highest incarceration rate in the world. 650,000 of them are released each year and face challenges to reintegrate into their communities. Small steps are being made to make that process easier, but overwhelming obstacles remain.

JACK & (photo courtesy Christopher Myers)

The struggles of reentering society after prison are taken up in JACK &, a new theatrical piece from Kaneza Schaal, a veteran of experimental theater ensembles the Wooster Group and Elevator Repair Service. Eschewing a conventional structure, the work draws on 1950s sitcoms, debutante balls, minimalist painters, and an array of social rituals to present a dream-like “multimedia comedy of errors.”

JACK & stars Cornell Alston, whom Schaal met when he was performing in August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom at Fishkill Correctional Facility, where he was serving a 33-year sentence. Alston is a member of Rehabilitation Through the Arts (RTA), an organization that uses the arts as a tool for self-improvement for those currently and formerly incarcerated.

When: Thursday, November 15–Saturday, November 17, 8:30pm nightly (tickets $10–$20)
Where: Roy and Edna Disney CalArts Theater (REDCAT) (631 W. 2nd Street, Downtown, Los Angeles)

More info at REDCAT.

Matt Stromberg is a freelance visual arts writer based in Los Angeles. In addition to Hyperallergic, he has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, CARLA, Apollo, ARTNews, and other publications.