"...I am free from Angola but Angola will never be free of me"
As the lights dimmed to the sounds of the song, "Ship ahoy," the cast took us through time, music, events and the drama of human life behind bars.
The stage was propped by an electric chair, warden's desk, a few benches and the most prolific of them all, a prison cell which represented solitary confinement.
There were happy scenes, sad scenes and powerful words uttered from the lips of Robert Hillary King, Albert Woodfox and Herman Wallace, who organized a prison protest against the depressed conditions at Angola State Penitentiary. These inmates were later accused of the murder of a prison guard and placed in solitary confinement.
This powerful production was written by neophyte Parnell Herbert and directed by Wayne Dehart. It was indeed a trip through the elements of time changing, people changing and how everything basically stayed the same, for men who played cards and swept floors, men who took their frustrations out on the world through constant push-ups and reading the bible, men who had to make the adjustment to a dejected life, which focused on dehumanizing all human beings, who stroll with life-sentences through prison hallways.
This unbelievable mixed cast came together from Houston, Texas with the exception of a chosen few from The City of New Orleans. While this production ran for only one-weekend, its message to the people is to take a stand, do something in your city and get involved in the movement of life behind bars.
My spirit was lit on fire, in knowing that there ain't nothing in this world stronger than a black man with a purpose to live long enough to tell his story.
Dionne Character is Entertainment Editor for the Louisiana Data News Weekly. Character has earned the name "Diva," Author, Singer, Poetess, Actress, Creative Writing Instructor and Freelance Writer; she may be reached at www.dionnecharacter.com or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo of director/playwright Parnell Herbert by Nicholas Krebill. Photo of the cast of Angola III courtesy of Parnell Herbert.
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