This new drama follows an African-American woman named Mary, who after sentenced to prison for a non-violent drug offense, faces the horrors of solitary confinement. More…
Mary struggles to maintain her sanity in the face of loneliness, indifference, human cruelty, and loss. The play takes the audience into her psychic world. We travel alongside her self-guided intellectual and emotional journey into the nature of freedom, both physical and psychological as Mary's external and internal experience unfolds on stage in the present, in memory, and in the fantasies that help her survive.
“Gut-wrenching theater...rooted in several years of research...In a tour de force performance, Strum fully inhabits Mary’s psyche. With wide eyes that refuse to turn away from life’s pain, Strum’s Mary is emotionally and physically complex, vulnerable and brimming with truth. Filloux’s anguished and at times poetic dialogue flows effortlessly in Strum’s interpretation...Superb and versatile six-member cast...who plays several roles with chameleon-like skill.” Full Review
"Documentary detail is blended with theatricality in Filloux’s heartbreaking drama...Strum is towering and shattering as Mary. Strum mines all of the character’s pathos and humor with her charismatic performance that is the play’s centerpiece...Life behind bars has long been a dramatic staple and the inspiring 'whatdoesfreemean?' trods this familiar territory with fierce emotion and presentational verve." Full Review
"Sometimes 'Theater with a Message' can be preachy or heavy-handed, but this show is far from that. Visceral and impactful, 'whatdoesfreemean?' approaches incarceration with depth and candor and a bit of whimsy...The performers are all excellent...Ms. Filloux’s text does a wonderful job of creating a fully-developed, likable, flawed character that the audience cares about, even during the short span of the play’s run time of 80 minutes." Full Review
"The piece beautifully dissects a complex character whose criminality and morality should not be viewed as simply black and white and puts the effectiveness, as well as the inhumanity of our prison system under scrutiny...Though Filloux has written a sincere, provocative piece, I was at times distracted by its frequent tonal shifts, from realistic to absurd, from satirical to solemn...This thought-provoking piece provides a platform for a much-needed discussion." Full Review
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