By Lt. F. Jacobo, Community Resources Manager
The inaugural Marin Shakespeare Performance of Julius Caesar recently took place at Mule Creek State Prison (or MCSP).
The inmates on Facility D and E participated in a 32-week learning workshop where they studied the famous work of William Shakespeare. The Marin Shakespeare Company, led by Sharon, Julianna, and Tina, conducted intensive training with the 23 inmates weekly on the facility.
With over 100 inmates signing up for the initial start-up of the Shakespeare company, the inmates were selected after participating in a series of interviews conducted by the company staff. The 23 inmates were taught insight into William Shakespeare but also insight into themselves.
Daniel Johnson, who played the role of Cassius, said the character was an echo of himself.
“I was Cassius when I was on the streets. I was a manipulator and I did not care about other’s feelings. I have always had problems expressing myself, but now it is much different. This experience opened up a whole new world for me and gave me the ability to express myself in ways I did not know I could.”
Andre Bautista, who played Brutus, admits acting is a way for him to connect to another reality.
“The stress of being in the system has caused my emotions to roller coaster way too often. This program has given me an outlet to vent and express those emotions in an artistic and positive way.”
The Marin Shakespeare Company began serving CDCR in 2003 at San Quentin State Prison. They are currently in over 13 CDCR prisons, encouraging social justice through the arts. They continue to expand and rehabilitate incarcerated individuals, at-risk youth, and have a direct theater program for those who have recently been released from incarceration.
To learn more and see videos of past Shakespeare for Social Justice Performances, visit MarinShakespeare.org (link opens new tab, may not be accessible from a CDCR computer).