Actor/Prisoner Lamont Bryant on Performing Macbeth in Green Haven Correctional Facility

Lamont Bryant, Inmate, Green Haven Correctional Facility

00:05:13 LB: Last night was [slight cough] – I remember them coming in and their viewing the play, because this is the first actual Shakespearean production inside of

this particular facility. And as I was listening backstage for the cues, and I was listening backstage, it was like you can hear them actually following the language and the dialogue as if, you know, they – they fully comprehended what was going on. And I thought – at the beginning I kind of figured that maybe they would just follow the motions of the actors and actresses and kind of put it together. But they actually responded – they actually called and responded and participated in the entire play, from start to finish.

00:06:02 SR: That’s something, isn’t it?

00:06:03 LB: Yeah. I mean, it was a better response than I anticipated; let me just say that. It was a better response than I anticipated.

00:06:10 SR: What did you expect?

00:06:14 LB: Truthfully, I didn’t expect them – because inside of the book in which we – which we read from and which we studied from – it had the original text of the Shakespearean language and it had the contem – a contemporized text whereas you can – it was updated, or upgraded for, like, common language. And I kind of expected – I didn’t go for it; I was championing the movement for the contemporary text. But our producer, John, was like, “Don’t worry about it; don’t worry about. They’re going to get it.” And they caught it. They caught it.

00:06:50 They caught it and it was good because they was able to follow the plots and the scheme of things and the scenarios and they understood everything, because you can hear in between sets and changes, like, “He killed Duncan’s wife; he killed . . . He’s going to kill Duncan.” Or “He’s scheming on his friend, his best friend, Banquo.” You can hear the participation through the – through the – through some of the conversations they were having off the stage, that they was actually following everything. Yes.

00:07:21 SR: So Banquo is betrayed and murdered by his best friend – right?

00:07:25 LB: Yeah. That’s horrible, isn’t it? That’s horrible, isn’t it? And you know, that’s – that’s – it’s – you know, it’s funny because that’s – that’s – that’s not so much different – and it may sound harsh, but it’s not so different than the motivations that people have today. You know, the classic, you know, conquer and get past this, or do what you need to do to get where you want to be – or where you think you want to be – at all means. By all means necessary to do this. So this has been going on – even with the queen behind the – behind the scenes, with the motivation, or you know, kind of psychological instructions to her husband, Macbeth, like, “I don’t care what you do and how you’re going to do it, this is the way we’re going to do it and we’re going to become a king and a queen and this is how you’re going to do it.” The psycho-socio manipulation was just – it was just amazing.

Lamont Bryant – on First Night Macbeth from CultureWorks on Vimeo.