Reflections is a Big Hit

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Mel Nieves leads the circle at Reflections. Photo: Chris Kateff.

Thank you to everyone who came to Reflections with Mel Nieves on Monday, September 23rd.

For 75 minutes, 40 people sat in a circle and shared in the experience of this wonderful program. 2013 Playwright-in-Residence Mel Nieves spoke eloquently about his June residency. We had terrific actors — chandra thomas, Norman Small, Jr., Noelia Antweiler and Chuck Calvello — read work by Drew, Eric and James– all members of the playwriting circle at Northpoint Training Center, a medium security prison near Danville, KY. All were big hits. Voices Inside/Out co-founder Synge Maher read the gorgeous thank you letter from Eric’s mom about the program and its impact on her son and the whole family. Voices Inside/Out co-founder Lanie Zipoy talked about the residency and the dream of having at least one teaching artist in every prison in America.

The group stood in a circle with eyes closed and did the Peter Brook exercise that Mel had the circle do during his residency in June. In this exercise, the group has to recite the alphabet one person at a time without doubling up on a letter. This large group made it to Letter X on the first try. Astounding. It’s taken much smaller groups hours to be able to complete this exercise.
We close the night with a q&a with Mel. Most people were interested in his experience — what he learned and gained from the program– and how to make a program like this viable in other prisons.