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Synopsis

Shakespeare Inside goes behind the scenes to reveal Shakespeare at work in the most decisive institutional context of our time - in prisons. Based upon the author's experience of watching prison yard rehearsals and performances, and interviewing inmates, program directors, and wardens, Shakespeare Inside is not an objective, dispassionate account of how Shakespeare is bastardized by repressive institutions but offers a record of fiercely personal experiences. We hear ex-offender Mike Smith detail how playing Desdemona was vital to his rehabilitation; we sit in the audience of women inmates as they respond to the all-male Shakespeare Behind Bars touring production of Julius Caesar; and we listen to a chorus of unnamed voices explain how rewriting Hamlet helps them to survive solitary confinement. Shakespeare Inside probes any assumptions we might have about Shakespeare's performative function and asks what - if anything - is the proper place of Shakespeare in today's society.

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