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SHARED SENTENCES

by Emily Joy Weiner

some additional words by Barbara Allan, Kevin Barron, Zudaydah Rivera, and Tanasha Gordon

directed by Kimmarie Elle

developed with Houses on the Moon Theater Company

An exploration of the toll of incarceration on families and loved ones.

SHARED SENTENCES follows the lives of six characters. When Olivia, a lonely aspiring artist, is faced with a life altering proposition during dark and uncertain times, she finds herself in a United Prison Families meeting, a support group for those with an incarcerated loved one. SHARED SENTENCES explores how we define “family”, and the struggle between the warmth and comfort of community and the cold depths of utter isolation.

The project was originally conceived by Emily Joy Weiner in 2017. Following a series of interviews, the project was collaboratively explored during an eight-week creative workshop series in 2018 by a group of individuals who all have an incarcerated loved one. Weiner curated the material created during the workshop into a first-person storytelling performance, which was presented by the original group in 2019 in NYC at Westbeth Community Room, Ripley Grier Studios and at Bethany Arts Community (Ossining, NY). Inspired by this original project and a Long Island based organization called Prison Families Anonymous, Weiner has built upon the initial documentary form and has been writing a play, called SHARED SENTENCES.

Houses on the Moon Theater Company was founded in 2001 with a mission to dispel ignorance and isolation through the theatrical amplification of unheard voices. Through creative workshops, original performances, post-show conversations and accessible ticketing, Houses on the Moon helps communities come together by making meaningful connections through the public sharing of their untold stories. All Houses projects are created through an extensive research and developmental process in collaboration with community partners, which have included Amnesty International, the AFSC Immigrant Rights Program, Human Rights First and many others. At the core of our creative process are interviews with real people about their lives, and an investigative search for those human stories that yearn for a much wider audience.

Prison Families Anonymous is a self-help organization whose purpose is to help the families and friends who now have, once had, or are about to have a loved one involved in the criminal or juvenile justice system. PFA began in February of 1974 because three women were concerned about the impact on the family when a loved one becomes involved in the system. It was the hope and intent of the founders to provide a way to keep families from facing their fears and traumas alone.

THEATRE THAT CHANGES OUR WORLD

FRONTLINES:

Stories From The Edge

Stories ripped from the headlines- stories that RESONATE in a larger than life way, while also being AFFECTING down to the most intimate personal moment.

The world as we know it has CHANGED indelibly.

Covid-19 and the pandemic has taken it’s toll – millions of people have perished exceeding what was once inconceivable in comparison to the 1918 pandemic. It continues to wreck havoc here and around the world. The mental anguish and economic tsunami continues. With that, the racial, social and political situation has turned the world inside out.

We will produce and showcase work that EDUCATES, ENLIGHTENS, and ENTERTAINS but at it’s center has the capacity to open our hearts, question our beliefs and shake us to our very core.

Work that is political, socially relevant, poignant, and work that will change our world, and change us in the process.

CHERYL WIESENFELD has been in the communication field as an editor, writer, photographer and producer. Since 1998, she has been a Broadway and off-Broadway producer with numerous plays and musicals to her credit. She has numerous awards for her productions including the Drama League, Drama Desk, Lucille Lortel, NY Drama Critics awards, as well as four Tony Awards.

Learn more about the company → Watch Tales from the Moon 2021 about the company’s creative arts workshop in New York City schools → Watch more Houses on the Moon videos →
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