WLIW21 Specials

FULL EPISODE

Stargate Theatre: A Defining Act

Founded by the Manhattan Theatre Club, the Stargate Theatre Company immerses court-involved youth in the theater arts as a mechanism for coping with and overcoming negative factors in their lives. In this film, witness the company members as they compose, rehearse, and perform their original Off-Broadway play, Deeper Than Skin.

AIRED: February 19, 2016 | 0:56:47
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
TRANSCRIPT

♪♪

>> All: I AM.

>> A FULL MOON IN THE DARK NIGHT

SKY.

>> A SILHOUETTE.

>> A LOPSIDED TRIANGLE.

>> TIPTOEING DOWN THE STREET.

>> All: I AM.

>> THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT THE

LIVES OF YOUNG MEN HERE,

PARTICULARLY YOUNG MEN OF

COLOR, AND THE CHALLENGES THAT

THEY HAVE TO GO THROUGH.

THEY'VE HAD A LIFETIME OF

INEQUALITY AND POVERTY IN THEIR

LIVES.

>> WHEN THE PROPAGANDA ENDS THAT

ALL BLACK MEN ARE THE SAME.

>> WE'RE NOT ALL THE SAME.

>> WE'RE NOT ALL POOR AND

UNEDUCATED.

>> THEY HAVE HEARTS OF GOLD.

IF I DIDN'T KNOW ANY OF THEM

AND I JUST MET THEM, IT WOULDN'T

BE APPARENT TO ME THAT THEY HAD

ANY INVOLVEMENT WITH THE LAW.

>> I DID A LOT OF BAD THINGS.

LIKE, YOU KNOW, HOPPING THE

TURNSTILE, FIGHTING.

>> SOMEBODY LIED AND SAID THAT I

ROBBED THEM.

>> I GOT CHARGED WITH ATTEMPT

MURDER AND CONSPIRACY...

AND THAT'S HOW IT LEADED ME TO

BE INCARCERATED.

>> THE WORST WAS SEEING MY

MOTHER HEARTBROKEN, CRYING,

KNOWING THAT I MIGHT NOT BE ABLE

TO STEP OUTSIDE THIS JAIL AGAIN.

I GOT TO GET MY HEAD STRAIGHT TO

DO WHAT'S BEST FOR ME.

SO I CAN GET OUT.

>> WHEN I WENT TO RIKERS ISLAND,

THERE WAS A PERSON WHO CAME AND

THEY SPOKE TO ME ABOUT, LIKE,

PROGRAMS.

>> I'VE SEEN THROUGH YOUR EYES.

HISTORY ONLY REPEATS ITSELF.

THE WORLD ISN'T GOING TO CHANGE

UNLESS WE CHANGE OURSELVES.

THE BAD HABITS YOU PICK UP NOW,

THEY JUST MIGHT LAST YOU A

LIFETIME.

>> I WAS IN AN INCARCERATION

PROGRAM, AND THEY WAS LIKE, YOU

KNOW, YOU WANT TO FIND WAYS TO

BE PRODUCTIVE WITH YOURSELF, YOU

KNOW, DO BETTER THINGS AND

HOPEFULLY YOU COULD START A

CAREER, SO THEY WAS LIKE, "JOIN

THE STARGATE COMPANY."

THE STARGATE THEATRE COMPANY

IS A PROGRAM FOR COURT-INVOLVED

YOUTH THAT LOOKS TO POSITIVE,

AFFIRMATIVE EXPERIENCES AS BEING

FAR MORE EFFECTIVE THAN

INCARCERATION OR EVEN SOME OF

THE TRADITIONAL INTERVENTIONS

THAT THE FIELD PREVIOUSLY HAD

UNDERTAKEN.

>> JAMES, FIGHTING DOESN'T SOLVE

ANYTHING.

ALL YOU GONNA END UP DOING IS

GETTING YOURSELF ANGRIER THAN

YOU WERE BEFORE.

>> SO?

>> THE CORE PROGRAM AT MTC

BEGINS WITH TEACHING STUDENTS TO

APPRECIATE PLAYS AND TO WRITE

PLAYS -- TO FIND A WAY TO FREE

THEIR OWN EXPRESSION AND THEIR

OWN STORYTELLING, AND TO BE ABLE

TO APPRECIATE IN A MEANINGFUL

WAY WHAT THEY'RE SEEING.

>> MY DAD ALWAYS TOLD ME TO

ENCOURAGE MYSELF -- THAT NO ONE

WOULD TAKE CARE OF YOU LIKE YOU

TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF.

>> WHAT I GOT FROM MY MOTHER IS

TO ALWAYS STAY FOCUSED ON WHAT'S

IMPORTANT.

>> THE THEATER FROM THE OTHER

SIDE OF THE FOOTLIGHTS, IF YOU

WILL, FROM THE STORYTELLER'S

POINT OF VIEW, ALLOWS THESE

YOUNG MEN, IN THIS CASE, TO

UNLOCK ANGER, FRUSTRATION,

POSITIVE REENFORCEMENT OF THE

CHOICES THEY'RE MAKING IN THEIR

LIVES.

>> ONE OF THE MAIN REASONS WE'RE

DOING WHAT WE DO IN STARGATE IS

TO TRY TO FIND OURSELVES IN A

WAY, TO TRY TO EXPRESS OURSELVES

TO OTHER PEOPLE AND TO LET OTHER

PEOPLE HEAR OUR STORY.

>> BECAUSE I TRIED NOT TO BE

SAD, I BECAME RESENTFUL.

BECAUSE I BECAME RESENTFUL, I

BECAME ENRAGED.

BECAUSE I BECAME ENRAGED, I

EXPLODED.

BECAUSE I EXPLODED, I BECAME

FRANTIC.

BECAUSE I BECAME FRANTIC, I

TURNED TO SILENCE.

>> WE HAVE THE CHANCE TO

BASICALLY EXPRESS OURSELVES.

WE HAVE THE CHANCE TO LET THOSE

PEOPLE WHO JUDGE US KNOW THAT

WE'RE NOT JUST WHAT THEY SAY WE

ARE.

>> THE SOUND OF MIDNIGHT IN THE

CITY.

BOTTLES CRACKING.

TIRES SCREECHING.

PEOPLE LAUGHING FROM A

DISTANCE.

>> WE'RE NOT JUST FELONS.

WE'RE NOT JUST PEOPLE WHO HAVE

COURT CASES, WHO ARE COURT

MANDATED AND STUFF LIKE THAT.

WE HAVE -- WE ARE GOOD PEOPLE.

WE ARE PEOPLE JUST LIKE YOU.

>> WE NEVER ASK THEM WHAT THEIR

OFFENSE WAS, OR WHAT THEY DID TO

BECOME COURT INVOLVED.

WE DON'T WANT TO KNOW THAT.

WE WANT TO KNOW THEM FROM OUR

EXPERIENCE WITH THEM IN THE ROOM

AS YOUNG ACTORS AND WRITERS.

PERIOD.

>> THIS ISN'T A TALENT-BASED

RECRUITMENT PROCESS, THIS IS AN

EFFORT-BASED RECRUITMENT

PROCESS.

AND SO THEY SIT DOWN AND

THEY'RE INTERVIEWED BY MY

CO-ARTISTIC DIRECTOR AND ME.

AND WE ASK THEM ABOUT WHATEVER

EXPERIENCE THEY MIGHT HAVE HAD.

>> DO YOU WANT US TO CALL YOU

CHRIS OR FLEEZY?

>> FLEEZY.

>> FLEEZY.

>> WHICH IS NOT EASY TO FORGET.

THAT'S EASY TO REMEMBER, OKAY.

WAS THAT THE FIRST PLAY YOU EVER

WROTE?

>> EVER WROTE.

>> WHAT DID YOU LIKE ABOUT THAT?

>> IT WAS A GREAT EXPERIENCE.

I LIKE TO LEARN NEW THINGS.

I'M A QUICK LEARNER.

>> THIS IS A NEW STEP, YOU KNOW?

YOU GOT TO SPREAD YOUR WINGS,

LIKE...

YOU KNOW, WHEN I FIRST HEARD IT,

I'M LIKE, "MMM, I DON'T KNOW,"

BUT WHEN I THOUGHT ABOUT IT, I'M

LIKE, "YOU SHOULD GO TRY IT,

LIKE..."

>> SO YOU DID ROMEO AND JULIET?

>> YEAH.

>> IN SCHOOL?

>> YEAH.

>> AND WHO'D YOU PLAY, DO YOU

REMEMBER?

>> I WAS ROMEO.

>> GET OUT.

>> AND I WAS, WHAT WAS THE

COUSIN'S NAME?

THE COUSIN?

>> ROMEO'S COUSIN?

>> YEAH.

>> BENVOLIO?

>> YEAH, I PLAYED BENVOLIO, TOO.

>> HOW ARE YOU DOING?

GOOD, GOOD TO SEE YOU.

>> WE TAKE QUIET KIDS -- KIDS

WHO YOU WOULDN'T ORDINARILY

EXPECT TO BE ONSTAGE.

BUT IF THEY'RE INTERESTED AND

WILLING, WE'RE WILLING TO TAKE

THEM.

>> SO YOU'VE NEVER HAD ANY

ACTING EXPERIENCE BEFORE?

>> NOT REALLY, BUT I DO GET

CALLED BY FAMILY, "OH YOU CAN BE

A LITTLE DRAMA QUEEN SOMETIMES."

>> SO YOU'RE COMFORTABLE

SPEAKING IN FRONT OF PEOPLE?

>> YEAH, I'M COMFORTABLE

SPEAKING IN FRONT OF PEOPLE.

>> WE'RE ALSO LOOKING FOR KIDS

WHO WANT TO HAVE A CREATIVE WORK

EXPERIENCE.

THIS IS WORK.

THEY'VE GOT TO BE HERE ON TIME.

THEY GET PAID AT THE END OF THE

WEEK.

THERE ARE CERTAIN RULES AND

EXPECTATIONS THAT THEY HAVE TO

FOLLOW.

>> THIS IS A JOB.

WE PAY THEM MINIMUM WAGE.

>> DO YOU KNOW THE TIME

COMMITMENT FOR THIS, RIGHT?

4:30 TO 7:30, MONDAY THROUGH

THURSDAY FOR SEVEN WEEKS.

IT'S, YOU KNOW, IT'S A

COMMITMENT BECAUSE IT'S A JOB,

RIGHT?

AND YOU'RE PAID EVERY HOUR THAT

YOU'RE HERE, BUT WE WORK 4:30 TO

7:30, BUT IT'S ALSO A REHEARSAL.

AND IF THE TRAIN TAKES AN HOUR,

THAT YOU ALLOW AN HOUR AND A

HALF BECAUSE TRAINS -- YOU KNOW

WHAT THE TRAINS ARE LIKE.

>> I CAN'T WAIT TO WORK HERE IF

Y'ALL DO ACCEPT ME.

>> YEAH, OKAY.

>> STARGATE WOULD BE A GREAT

EXPERIENCE FOR ME.

I'M AN ARTIST.

I MAKE MUSIC, BUT I AM

STAGE FRIGHT, SO I GUESS THIS

WOULD BE SOMEWHAT OF A HELP FOR

ME.

THANKS FOR THE OPPORTUNITY.

THIS IS GREAT.

>> ALL RIGHT.

IT'S A GREAT EXPERIENCE.

>> IF I DON'T MAKE IT, IT'S

STILL OKAY.

IT'S JUST, IT WAS STILL A GOOD

EXPERIENCE YOU KNOW?

COMING TO THE ORIENTATION,

MEETING NEW PEOPLE STILL, AND

ACTING OUT, YOU KNOW?

>> ALL RIGHT.

>> OKAY.

ALL RIGHT, THANK YOU.

>> NICE TALKING TO YOU.

>> WE HAVE 18 KIDS RIGHT NOW.

THE FIRST YEAR WE HAD NINE KIDS

ON STAGE PERFORMING.

LAST YEAR WE HAD ABOUT A DOZEN.

>> DENZEL.

>> FLEEZY.

>> SAM.

>> ADAM.

>> ENRIQUE.

>> MARQUIS.

>> SAYQUAN.

>> JUDY.

>> MIKE.

>> MESHACH.

>> I BUILD ENSEMBLE.

AND THAT'S MY FIRST GOAL.

>> DENZEL.

>> FLEEZY.

>> SAM...

>> SO I DO A LOT OF ACTIVITIES

AND WARM-UPS AND THEATER GAMES

TO HELP DEVELOP ENSEMBLE.

TO CREATE A SAFE SPACE IN THIS

ROOM...

>> COOL?

YOU MAY NOT GET IT THE FIRST

TIME.

DON'T WORRY ABOUT IT.

AND TURN.

DON'T WORRY IF IT DOESN'T

HAPPEN.

>> ...TO CREATE A SENSE OF

TRUST AND RESPECT, SO THAT THEY

CAN TAKE CREATIVE RISKS AND DO

GOOD THINGS.

>> GOOD KEEP IT GOING.

WE'RE GONNA TRY AND GO FASTER.

THAT'S OUR GOAL.

>> AND WHAT THAT TEACHES US IS

COOPERATION.

IT TEACHES US HOW TO LISTEN AND

HOW TO PAY ATTENTION TO EACH

OTHER AND HOW TO WORK TOGETHER

SUCCESSFULLY.

WE DO EXERCISES LIKE THAT AND

THEY'RE REALLY FUN.

>> SO THAT'S CALLED "KEEP IT

MOVING".

WHY DO I CALL IT "KEEP IT

MOVING"?

>> BECAUSE YOU GOT TO MOVE.

>> RIGHT.

THAT NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS,

IF YOU MAKE A MISTAKE AND YOU

DON'T CLAP TOGETHER, IT DOESN'T

MATTER, YOU JUST KEEP IT MOVING.

YOU DON'T STOP AND GO "AW,

SHOOT.

WE SCREWED UP."

RIGHT?

YOU JUST KEEP IT MOVING, AND

THAT'S KIND OF LIKE A PLAY.

LIKE WHEN WE'RE DOING A SHOW,

RIGHT, THE PLAY HAS TO KEEP

MOVING.

WE CAN NEVER LET IT STOP.

SOMEONE MIGHT FORGET A LINE.

RIGHT?

SOMEONE MIGHT FORGET A WHOLE

PAGE.

SO YOU CAN'T DO IT TILL IT COMES

AROUND TO YOU, AND YOU KEEP

DOING IT.

AND IT'S GONNA KEEP CHANGING,

SO JUST KEEP PAYING ATTENTION TO

THE PERSON ON YOUR LEFT.

>> IT CREATES A GROUP OF KIDS

WHO MIGHT NEVER HAVE TALKED TO

EACH OTHER.

THEY MIGHT NEVER HAVE BEEN IN

THE SAME ROOM TOGETHER.

IF THEY WERE WALKING DOWN THE

STREET, THEY MIGHT ACTUALLY

HAVE, YOU KNOW, GIVEN EACH OTHER

THE SIDE EYE.

>> TO BE HONEST, BEFORE I CAME

HERE, I THOUGHT I WOULD BE

COMING IN WITH A GROUP OF BOYS

THAT'S SHADY.

SOME OF THEM ARE LIKE -- THEY

LIKE TO FIGHT.

YOU KNOW.

BUT YOU CAN'T ALWAYS THINK

NEGATIVE.

>> YEAH, AND JUDGE.

>> VERY DIFFERENT KIDS WITH

DISPARATE BACKGROUNDS AND LIVING

SITUATIONS ARE TOGETHER IN A

ROOM, AND THEY'VE GOT EACH

OTHER'S BACKS.

>> THERE'S LIKE A VERY HOMEY

VIBE.

>> YOU FEEL LIKE, THIS IS

LIKE A PLACE YOU SHOULD BE.

LIKE, YOU FEEL SAFE HERE.

SO IT FEELS LIKE THIS IS WHERE

YOU BELONG.

LIKE, EVEN IF YOU MESS UP,

THEY'LL LET YOU KNOW...

BUT THEY'LL ENCOURAGE YOU TO

DO IT AGAIN.

>> THE BYPRODUCT OF ALL THOSE

ACTIVITIES IS THAT THESE GUYS

BECOME A FAMILY...

AND YOU HAVE TO BE A FAMILY TO

GO ONSTAGE.

>> LOOK AT HIM.

SO NONCHALANT.

>> WALKING AROUND WITH HIS NECK

ALL TATTOOED UP.

>> LOOKING LIKE HIS MAMA DON'T

LOVE HIM.

[ LAUGHTER ]

>> WE'RE GOING TO WRITE ON THOSE

SHEETS ON THE WALLS.

>> NOT ON THE REAL WALL, BUT ON

THE PAPER.

>> WE'RE GONNA GATHER IMAGES,

BECAUSE WE'RE GOING TO

MAKE POETRY WITH THESE IMAGES

LATER, BUT AS A GROUP WE'RE

GONNA GATHER IMAGES.

THIS IS ABOUT YOU.

IT'S ALL ABOUT YOU, OKAY?

>> ANY PLAY STARTS WITH

CHARACTERS.

AND SO ON THE FIRST DAY, I'M

ASKING THEM TO THINK ABOUT

THEMSELVES, BUT I'M ASKING THEM

TO THINK ABOUT IT IN A DIFFERENT

WAY THAN THEY MIGHT HAVE BEFORE.

>> YOU'RE GOING TO SAY TO

YOURSELF, "IF I WERE A..." AND

THEN IT'S WHATEVER IS ON THE

SHEET YOU'RE DOING AT THIS

MOMENT.

IF I WERE A COLOR, WHAT COLOR

WOULD I BE?

I'M TRYING TO SOW SEEDS OF

INTERESTING WRITING, WHICH IS

ALWAYS IMAGISTIC.

I ASK THEM TO CONSIDER

THEMSELVES AND TO REALLY BE RICH

WITH THEIR LANGUAGE.

AND THEN AFTER THAT, I TEACH

THEM HOW TO TAKE THOSE IMAGES

AND STRUCTURE A POEM OUT OF IT.

YOU'VE ALREADY GOT IMAGES

THERE AND MANY OF THEM YOU WROTE

FOR YOURSELF.

RIGHT?

>> WE HAD WRITING PROMPTS ABOUT

THINGS THAT WE'RE COMFORTABLE

WITH, LIKE, THINGS WE HAVE GOOD

SENSE MEMORY WITH.

>> I AM RAGE IN A BOX, UNFOLDING

BEFORE YOUR MIND.

YOU TELL THE STORY OF THIS

GROUP OF GUYS AND YOU'VE GOT TO

START OUT WITH CHARACTER.

SO WE START OUT WITH THOSE

"I AM" PIECES.

>> WE JUST BASICALLY WROTE A

LOT.

WE JUST WROTE AND PUT OUR IDEAS

TOGETHER.

>> AND THEN YOU ALSO WANT TO

KNOW WHERE A CHARACTER IS FROM

AND SO I GIVE THEM PROMPTS

AROUND THEIR NEIGHBORHOOD.

>> ENRIQUE HAS VOLUNTEERED TO GO

FIRST TO READ HIS POEM.

>> WHOA, WHOA, WHOA.

[ APPLAUSE ]

>> SO A COUPLE OF TIPS.

ONE, HOLD YOUR BOOK OR YOUR

PAPER IN ONE HAND SO YOUR OTHER

HAND IS FREE, BECAUSE YOU MAY

WANT TO GESTURE.

YOU MAY WANT TO SAY "I AM!

THE COLOR OF THE SUN!"

YOU DON'T HAVE TO GESTURE, BUT

HAVE YOUR HAND FREE IN CASE

YOU FEEL LIKE IT, RIGHT?

DON'T HAVE IT IN YOUR POCKET OR

HOLD YOUR PAPER WITH BOTH.

>> I AM AS DOWN AS THE EARTH.

I AM AS CHILL AS A RIVER

FLOWING.

I AM LIKE A SPINE THAT HOLDS

THINGS UP.

>> EVEN IF YOU DON'T HAVE STAGE

FRIGHT, IT'S HARD TALKING IN

FRONT OF PEOPLE.

BUT I'M EXCITED, TOO, 'CAUSE I

NEVER DID NOTHING LIKE THIS, SO

IT'S LIKE, "YEAH I WANT TO DO

IT, I WANT TO DO IT," BUT THEN I

DON'T WANT TO DO IT BECAUSE IT'S

A LOT OF PEOPLE IN THE ROOM.

>> I AM THE SOUND OF A ROARING

LION WHEN I AM UPSET.

I AM THE SOUND OF WATER FLOWING

DOWN THE RIVER WHEN I AM CALM.

>> I THINK SOME OF THE VALUE

THAT WE CREATE BY WRITING AND

THEN BY SHARING THE WRITING EVEN

THOUGH A LARGE PERCENTAGE OF IT

WILL NOT GET INTO THE SHOW IS

THEY GET TO BE EACH OTHER'S

WITNESS.

AND THE VALUE OF THAT CAN'T BE

UNDERESTIMATED.

>> I AM THE HEAT THAT THE SUN

GIVES OFF TO THE EARTH.

I AM THE BEAST THAT NEEDS TO BE

TAMED.

[ APPLAUSE ]

>> THEY'LL CLAP FOR YOU.

WE ALL CLAP FOR EACH OTHER.

WE ALL DO IT FOR EACH OTHER.

NOT ONLY ME, FOR EACH OTHER.

>> SNAP!

YOU KNOW.

>> AND THEY STARTED SNAPPING

WHENEVER SOMEBODY GOT AN IMAGE.

PICTURES, PICTURES, PICTURES...

>> AND LIKE ALL OF YOU WERE

DOING IT.

SO LET'S JUST BE AWARE, WHENEVER

EACH ONE OF US CREATES SOMETHING

THAT MAKES US SEE A PICTURE AND

THEN HAVE A FEELING, LET'S, YOU

KNOW, GIVE THEM SOME SNAPS FOR

THAT.

>> I AM THE SQUARE IN A ROOM

FULL OF RECTANGLES.

I AM THE SKY -- THE COLOR OF THE

SKY -- GREY, NEUTRAL.

>> I AM A COMFORTABLE PILLOW YOU

CAN LAY ON AT NIGHT, BUT NOT FOR

LONG.

I AM A PAIN FILLING YOUR HEAD

WHEN YOU WOULD THINK TOO HARD.

>> AND WE ACKNOWLEDGE JUST THE

SHARING AND THAT'S A HUGE PART

OF THE WRITING PROCESS IS

LISTENING TO EACH OTHER'S

WRITING.

>> I AM A CAT ATOP THE PENTAGON.

EYES LIKE THE MOON IN THE DARK

NIGHT SKY.

SOMETIMES WET LIKE CLOUDS, BUT

DEADLY LIKE A SPIDER.

FAST LIKE BLUE LIGHTENING,

CLIMBING THE FAMILY TREE.

>> ONE OF THE THINGS THAT WE

HOPE HAPPENS IS TO CHALLENGE

SOME OF THE SELF-PERCEPTION AND

THE ASSUMPTIONS THAT SOCIETY

MAKES ABOUT THEM AND THAT

THEY'VE INTERNALIZED AND THAT

THEY MAKE ABOUT THEMSELVES AND

ABOUT WHAT'S POSSIBLE FOR THEM,

AND WHO THEY ARE, AND ARE THEY

ACTUALLY A CRIMINAL?

THEY'VE BEEN CALLED A CRIMINAL

OR A THUG, MANY TIMES, AND WHAT

DO THEY BELIEVE ABOUT

THEMSELVES?

>> I'M A CRIMINAL THAT CHOOSE TO

DO RIGHT.

I AM A SUPER INTELLIGENT MAN

THAT MIND BURSTS WITH FLAMES OF

THOUGHTS.

>> I GUESS PEOPLE COULD SEE ME

AS A, YOU KNOW, YOUNG BLACK

MALE, TATTOOS, YOU KNOW,

PROBABLY WILD OR WHATEVER.

YOU KNOW, BUT I SEE MYSELF

DIFFERENT THAN THAT.

>> I AM A BLUE INK PEN WRITING

AS ONE MAN THINKS.

I AM FIREWORKS LIGHTING UP THE

SKY ON A NICE JULY 4th NIGHT.

>> I'M JUST HERE TRYING TO

CHANGE, YOU KNOW?

DO SOMETHING IMPORTANT.

>> WHAT I REALLY WANT PEOPLE TO

GET FROM THIS PERFORMANCE IS,

YOU KNOW, JUST TO LOOK AT ME AS

A DIFFERENT PERSON.

>> YOU'RE A SMART YOUNG MAN.

GETTING HIGH, GETTING ARRESTED.

IT'S NOT ALL THERE IS TO LIFE.

NOW WHAT'S GOING ON?

>> THEY HAVE SURPRISINGLY

DIFFERENT BACKGROUNDS.

THEY ARE ALL INVOLVED IN THE

COURT IN SOME WAY, BUT NOT ALL

OF THEM HAVE BEEN INCARCERATED.

THEY MIGHT HAVE BEEN ADJUDICATED

IN SOME WAY TO A DIVERSION

PROGRAM OR SORT OF PROBATION

SOME OF THEM HAVE SERVED TIME AT

RIKERS ISLAND AND ELSEWHERE.

>> WHAT?

FIRST OF ALL, I DON'T NEED YOU

TELLING ME WHAT'S RIGHT OR

WHAT'S WRONG.

YOU SHOULD BE THE LAST PERSON

TALKING TO ME ABOUT THIS...

>> BRO, I MIGHT BE YOUNGER THAN

YOU...

>> THEY ALL ALSO SHARE A KIND OF

INHERENT DESIRE TO MOVE THEIR

LIVES FORWARD AND A REALIZATION

THAT THEIR SURROUNDINGS DON'T

DEFINE THEM.

>> WHEN I WALK THROUGH MY OWN

NEIGHBORHOOD, I SEE PEOPLE

STANDING IN FRONT OF THE BODEGA,

COPS POSTED ON EVERY CORNER WHEN

YOU SMELL THE ALCOHOL THROUGH

THE PORES OF A DRUNK, THE

GUNPOWDER FROM A PISTOL THAT HAS

JUST BEEN SHOT, THESE THINGS

MAKE ME FEEL LIKE I DON'T

BELONG.

>> [ Rapping ] CAN I KEEP A

PACKET OF...TO COPE WITH THE

STRESS.

IT'S ALL LOVE AND RESPECT

NOTHING MORE NOTHING LESS.

YOU GOT TO PAY ATTENTION TO

WHOSE ON YOUR RIGHT AND YOUR

LEFT.

REMEMBER EVERYTHING YOU DO COME

WITH A CAUSE AND EFFECT.

I PLAYED THE GAME A LITTLE

SMARTER.

NOW I PUSH IN IN MOTION.

NOW EVERYTHING UP IN MY LIFE IS

GOING SMOOTH LIKE SOME LOTION...

>> MY NAME IS FLEEZY.

>> [ Rapping ] AND TAKE A SIP

OF THIS POTION.

AND HE SET MY LANE WHEN HE

SEPARATED THE OCEAN...

>> I GREW UP IN THE BRONX.

>> [ Rapping ] TOGETHER, NOW

IT'S ALL COMING TO ME.

EVEN IF THE DEVIL'S NEAR HE

COULDN'T DO NOTHING TO ME.

>> THIS SAYS FLEE, WHICH IS MY

NAME, YOU KNOW.

THE BRONX.

GOT THE BRONX.

STRATFORD IS WHERE I DID

EVERYTHING.

THAT'S, I DON'T KNOW, I GOT SO

MUCH HISTORY ON THAT BLOCK.

THE BRONX WAS REALLY ROUGH.

I'VE BEEN GANG AFFILIATED.

>> [ Rapping ] MY MOTHER TOLD ME

GO TO SCHOOL AND GET THAT

EDUCATION.

INSTEAD I GRADUATED FROM THE

SCHOOL OF PAPER CHASING.

AIN'T NOBODY TAUGHT ME NOTHING.

LEARNED EVERYTHING ON MY OWN.

>> I'VE BEEN INCARCERATED.

I TRUSTED THE WRONG PEOPLE, I

TOOK ADVICE FROM THE WRONG

PEOPLE, AND I DIDN'T MAKE MY OWN

DECISIONS.

SO IT TOOK ME DOWN THE WRONG

PATH.

>> [ Rapping ] HAVE YOU EVER

TOOK A MOMENT JUST TO THINK

ABOUT YOURSELF?

COULD YOU MAKE IT ON YOUR OWN

OR DO YOU REALLY NEED SOME HELP?

IS THERE SOMETHING THAT YOU'RE

GOING THROUGH THAT KILLED YOUR

MOTIVATION?

I LOST A LOT OF FRIENDS.

I DON'T HAVE ANY FRIENDS NO

MORE.

HIS NAME IS ARIEL.

HE DIED A COUPLE OF WEEKS

BEFORE HIS BIRTHDAY.

ONE OF MY OTHER FRIENDS KILLED

HIM.

THAT COULD HAVE BEEN ME.

I COULD HAVE WENT AND SAID, "YOU

KNOW WHAT, LET ME RETALIATE AND

KILL MY FRIEND.

LET ME GO OUT THERE AND GO KILL

SOMEBODY," BUT NAH.

I'M-A DO GOOD IN HIS NAME.

I'M-A DO GOOD FOR HIM.

>> ♪ MY MOTHER TOLD ME GO TO

SCHOOL AND GET THAT EDUCATION ♪

♪ INSTEAD I GRADUATED FROM THE

SCHOOL OF PAPER CHASIN' ♪

>> I CAN'T WORK MY MAGIC ON THE

STAGE IF I'M IN A CELL.

YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN?

AND I SAID THAT IN ONE OF MY

LINES IN THE PLAY.

>> YOU GOING TO JAIL BY YOUR

DAMN SELF.

I CAN'T GET UP ON STAGE AND

WORK MY MAGIC IN THE CELL.

>> SO YOU GOING TO LEAVE ME

HANGIN'?

WHEN I GO TO JAIL, YOU GONNA

PAY FOR MY COMMISSARY?

YOU GONNA COME VISIT ME?

YOU GONNA COME BRING FLEEZY

SOME SOCKS?

>> FLEEZY, IN PARTICULAR, I

THINK, IS SOMEONE WHO IS SUPER

BRIGHT.

>> AND VERY MATURE, IN HIS

WILLINGNESS TO TRY SOMETHING

NEW, TO LEARN SOMETHING HE

DOESN'T KNOW, AND TO GIVE IT A

SHOT.

>> SELF MOTIVATION IS ONE THING

I'M WORKING ON RIGHT NOW,

BECAUSE I DON'T GET THE

MOTIVATION FROM THE PEOPLE THAT

I'M SUPPOSED TO GET IT FROM.

>> AND HE'S BEEN SOMEONE THAT I

THINK HAS SHOWN LOVE AND SUPPORT

TO THE MEMBERS OF THE ENSEMBLE.

>> [ Rapping ] AND I COUNT UP

ALL MY BLESSIN'S.

HAD TO MAKE A FEW MISTAKES,

JUST TO LEARN A COUPLE LESSONS.

>> I HAD TO FIND MYSELF.

I HAD TO REALLY DIG DEEP INSIDE

MYSELF AND STEP OUT MY REALM TO

SEE THE INNER FLEEZY.

I'M VERY INTELLIGENT AND I HAVE

A LOT OF POTENTIAL.

>> ♪ BUT GOD DON'T LIKE UGLY

♪ EVEN THOUGH I LOVE THE STREETS

I KNOW THE STREETS DON'T LOVE

ME ♪

>> WE SPEND THREE WEEKS WRITING

AND THEN THIS IS A TRANSITIONAL

WEEK WHERE THEY'RE BEGINNING TO

MOVE INTO THE PUTTING IT ON ITS

FEET.

>> THE PLAY IS STRUCTURED WITH

18 DIFFERENT WRITERS.

AND WE WROTE A LOT OF DIFFERENT

THINGS.

WE JUST TRYING TO EXPRESS

OURSELVES IN MANY DIFFERENT

WAYS.

>> THE PIECE THAT THEY'RE

WRITING IS WHAT I CALL A COLLAGE

PLAY...

OR A KALEIDOSCOPE KIND OF PLAY.

>> JUDY AND STEVE BASICALLY TAKE

ALL OF OUR WORK AND THEY COMPILE

IT INTO ONE BIG PLAY, AND WE GET

THE CHANCE TO EXPRESS OUR

STORIES IN THAT ONE PLAY.

>> THE CUBS IN A WORLD FULL OF

DRAGONS AND HUNTERS.

>> IT'S NOT A SINGLE NARRATIVE.

IT'S A NARRATIVE OF ALL OF THE

GUYS.

>> AND THAT DARK HOLE, TO ME, IS

AN IMAGE OF MOTIVATION.

>> WE WAS JUST SHARING

EXPERIENCE THAT WE ALL HAD IN

THE PAST.

MOST OF US BEEN THROUGH SIMILAR

SITUATIONS.

AND WE COULD JUST RELATE TO

EACH OTHER, AND THAT'S HOW WE

GOT COMFORTABLE WITH EACH OTHER

AND BUILT FRIENDSHIP AND TRUST.

>> NO MATTER HOW ALONE THEY

THINK THEY ARE, THEY WILL NEVER

BE TRULY ALONE.

>> THE BEST PART WAS ACTUALLY

SEEING MY WORK GET PUT INTO A

PLAY.

LIKE, THEY'LL TELL ME IT'S

GOOD, BUT I AIN'T FEEL LIKE IT

WAS GOOD.

AND THEN I FELT LIKE, FOR ME TO

ACTUALLY HAVE THIS STUFF IN A

PLAY -- I FELT LIKE IT WAS A

GOOD THING TO DO.

>> "DEEPER THAN SKIN" -- FIRST

READING OF AN ORIGINAL PLAY BY

18 YOUNG MEN.

THREE, TWO, ONE, BEAT.

>> All: I AM.

>> A FULL MOON IN THE DARK NIGHT

SKY.

>> A SILHOUETTE.

>> A LOPSIDED TRIANGLE.

>> TIPTOEING DOWN THE STREET.

>> All: I AM.

>> THE TITLE IS

"DEEPER THAN SKIN," AND IT'S

PRETTY MUCH ABOUT WHAT PEOPLE

DON'T SEE.

SO YOU KNOW, PEOPLE MIGHT SEE

THAT I'M AFRICAN AMERICAN OR

STUFF LIKE THAT, AND THEY MIGHT

HAVE THEIR OWN STEREOTYPE.

AND THE PLAY PRETTY MUCH TALKS

ABOUT WHAT I AM BEYOND THOSE

STEREOTYPES.

>> THREE, TWO, ONE, ACTION.

>> All: I AM.

>> A FULL MOON IN THE DARK NIGHT

SKY.

>> A SILHOUETTE.

>> A LOPSIDED TRIANGLE.

>> TIPTOEING DOWN THE STREET.

>> All: I AM.

>> AND THEN WE START TO STAGE.

AND THE WRITING AND THE STAGING

OVERLAPS IN THE FOURTH WEEK.

SO WE'LL STAGE A LITTLE BIT

EACH DAY, BUT WRITE A LITTLE BIT

MORE.

>> THE PROMISING YOUTH.

THE ONES WHO THINK OUTSIDE THE

BOX.

>> WHEN I FIRST SAW, LIKE, THE

FIRST 11 PAGES OF OUR SCRIPT,

I WAS PRETTY ECSTATIC.

I WAS LIKE, "WHOA, THIS IS MY

WORK.

I GET TO EXPRESS THIS.

THIS IS, AWESOME."

>> NOW HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE

PROMISING YOUTH?

PROMISING YOUTH.

>> NO, BUT HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT

THAT, THAT'S YOU RIGHT?

>> YEAH, IT'S EMPOWERING.

>> IT'S US, YEAH.

THE PROMISING YOUTH.

I'M ROUND AS A CIRCLE.

I'M COOL.

YOU SQUARE.

YOU DIFFERENT.

SLOW IT DOWN.

>> IF YOU DO A MAPPING ANALYSIS,

A ZIP CODE ANALYSIS, OF WHERE

THE YOUNG PEOPLE COME FROM WHO

POPULATE THE JUVENILE JUSTICE

SYSTEM, THEY COME FROM AREAS OF

POVERTY WHERE THERE AREN'T

OPPORTUNITIES FOR KIDS TO DO

STUFF AND THAT'S WHERE POLICING

IS FAIRLY HEAVY AND WHERE

FAMILIES OF COLOR TEND TO

POPULATE.

>> BACK WHEN THE G.I. BILL WAS

BIG AND PEOPLE WERE GETTING HOME

LOANS, BLACK PEOPLE WERE

EXCLUDED FROM THESE THINGS.

AND THAT REDLINING CREATED

THESE GHETTOS.

>> I REFUSE TO BE OPPRESSED.

MINORITY?

MORE LIKE MAJESTY.

IN THE COUNTRY BUILT OFF THE

GENOCIDE OF ONE RACE, AND THE

ENSLAVEMENT OF ANOTHER, PLEASE,

MY BROTHER, PLEASE LET'S RETURN

TO THE LAND OF OUR MOTHERS.

>> OUR GUYS HAVE REALLY BEEN

FAILED, YOU KNOW.

AND BEEN, YOU KNOW, NOT JUST

FAILED, BUT LIKE, YOU KNOW, THE

PRODUCTS OF INSTITUTIONAL RACISM

AND SYSTEMIC RACISM.

>> SYSTEMIC RACISM IS SOMETHING

I BRING UP WITH THE GUYS BECAUSE

THEY ARE TALKING A LOT ABOUT

THEIR NEIGHBORHOODS AND THE

CONDITIONS THAT MANY OF THEM

FIND.

>> WHEN YOU DITTY BOP PAST

MY...BLOCK, YOU SEE SMALL

PLAYGROUNDS AND RUGGED BRICKS.

YOU FEEL THE TENSION IN THE AIR

OF PEOPLE WHO REALLY DON'T CARE.

>> WHEN YOU STROLL THROUGH MY

NEIGHBORHOOD, YOU SEE THE

DIVERSITY OF THE PEOPLE IN MY

COMMUNITY.

>> YOU SEE THE LANDSCAPERS

ATTACKING THEIR FRONT LAWNS.

>> LIKE ENRIQUE SAID, "I CARE

ABOUT MY HOOD AND I CARE ABOUT

WHETHER PEOPLE TREAT EACH OTHER

WELL."

>> THE HOOD SHOULD LOVE ITSELF.

INSTEAD OF KIDS KILLING KIDS AND

MOTHER'S CRYING, "I LOST MY

BABY," THE HOOD SHOULD LOVE

ITSELF.

>> MOST OF THE STUFF IN THIS

PLAY IS TRUE STUFF THAT HAPPENED

TO US.

IT'S NOT LIKE WE JUST MADE IT

UP LIKE IT'S A FAIRYTALE.

IT'S SOMETHING THAT COULD

ACTUALLY HAPPEN OR PROBABLY

REALLY DID HAPPEN.

>> IT'S NOT JUST THAT THEY

HAVEN'T BEEN ABLE TO TELL THEIR

STORY.

IN A LOT OF WAYS, THEIR STORIES

HAVE BEEN TAKEN FROM THEM.

>> DEAR COPS, I CAN'T TRUST YOU

WHEN I HEAR THE LIVES OF MANY

BEING KILLED BY YOUR HANDS.

I CAN'T TRUST YOU WHEN I SEE

YOU STOP KIDS FOR NO REASON

BECAUSE THEY LOOK SUSPICIOUS.

>> WE INTENTIONALLY TALK TO THEM

ABOUT WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A

BLACK KID IN AMERICA AND GIVE

WORDS TO WHAT THEY PROBABLY

NEVER HAVE HAD A CONVERSATION

ABOUT WITH AN ADULT.

>> I CAN'T TRUST YOU IN BLUE.

AND I DON'T REALLY CARE WHAT

YOU SAY OR DO, I JUST CAN'T

TRUST YOU.

YOUR BADGE IS JUST MAKEUP.

IT COMES OFF AT THE END OF THE

DAY.

OFFICER PIG, I'M A HUMAN JUST

LIKE YOU.

>> THAT'S THE MATERIAL THAT THEY

DEAL WITH IN STARGATE AND IT

BURSTS THEIR BUBBLE IN A REALLY

GOOD WAY.

>> HEY, JUSTICE SYSTEM.

I CAN'T TRUST YOU WHEN I AM

STOPPED AND FRISKED WITH NO

PROBABLE CAUSE -- WHEN I AM

STEREOTYPED BY THE WAY THAT I

DRESSED.

THINGS ARE ONLY GOING TO CHANGE

WHEN THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN

THE POLICE FORCE AND THE PEOPLE

IN GENERAL CHANGE.

>> ALL OF THEM HAVE HAD

INTERACTION WITH THE LEGAL

SYSTEM.

AND WE DON'T THINK ABOUT HOW

STRESSFUL THAT IS.

BUT, YOU KNOW, IT'S VERY

STRESSFUL FOR A LOT OF THESE

GUYS, AND THERE'S ALL KINDS OF

REASONS THAT KIDS GET PICKED UP.

>> All: DEAR BOYS IN BLUE.

I CAN'T TRUST YOU.

>> WHEN YOU SAY, "YOU FIT THE

DESCRIPTION."

>> WHEN I KNOW I DIDN'T DO

ANYTHING

>> WHEN SOMEBODY GET'S BEAT UP

FOR TALKING BACK.

>> WHEN YOU TELL ME I'M NOT

UNDER ARREST BUT PUT HANDCUFFS

ON ME ANYWAYS.

>> All: DEAR JUSTICE SYSTEM.

THINGS WON'T CHANGE.

>> UNTIL YOU STOP ABUSING THE

PEOPLE YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO

PROTECT.

>> THINGS ARE ONLY GONNA CHANGE

WHEN YOU STOP ABUSING THE PEOPLE

YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO PROTECT

PHYSICALLY AND MENTALLY.

>> YOU KNOW, WE HAVE A GUY IN

OUR PROGRAM WHO WAS LIKE, YOU

KNOW, 12, 13 YEARS OLD AND DID

BASICALLY, YOU KNOW, FOUR OR

FIVE YEARS IN JUVENILE

DETENTION.

>> MY NAME IS LEVITICUS.

I'M 20 YEARS OLD.

I LIVE IN THE BRONX.

I WAS INCARCERATED FOR FIVE

YEARS.

SINCE I WAS 14.

I GOT RELEASED WHEN I WAS 19.

>> THAT'S HIS WHOLE ADOLESCENCE.

YOU KNOW, AND YOU THINK ABOUT

WHAT YOU LEARNED EMOTIONALLY,

DEVELOPMENTALLY DURING THAT

TIME, AND HOW HARD IT IS TO BE

AN ADOLESCENT, AND THINK ABOUT

TRYING TO LEARN WHAT IT MEANS TO

BE A GOOD HUMAN BEING IN THAT

KIND OF ENVIRONMENT.

>> AT THAT AGE, BEING LOCKED UP

IS HARD TO DEAL WITH.

>> SEPARATION FROM FAMILY AND

FROM THEIR COMMUNITIES AND THE

THINGS THAT THEY KNOW IS A

TRAUMATIC EXPERIENCE.

>> WHEN I WENT INTO ISOLATION, I

JUST KNEW I DIDN'T BELONG THERE.

WHEN I SAW A FOOD TRAY, IT WAS

LIKE A TEASPOON OF EVERYTHING --

LITERALLY.

I THOUGHT I WAS GONNA DIE OF

STARVATION, BUT IT GETS WORSE.

WHEN YOU'RE YELLING AT THE TOP

OF YOUR LUNGS, TO GET A PHONE OR

A SHOWER AND THE GUARD ACTS LIKE

THEY CAN'T HEAR YOU, YOU'RE IN A

SIX BY FOUR, SMALL, CLOSED, HOT,

MUGGY BOX WITH DIRTY WALLS AND

YELLOW STAINS.

I JUST KNEW I DIDN'T BELONG

THERE.

>> PEOPLE HAVE AN APPETITE NOW

FOR SELF-REFLECTION AROUND THE

DECISIONS THAT WE MAKE, A

GREATER AWARENESS OF HOW EVEN A

BRIEF PERIOD OF DETENTION OR

INCARCERATION AFFECTS A YOUNG

PERSON'S LIFE.

IT'S PROFOUND.

>> IT'S LIKE YOUR FREEDOM TOOK

AWAY FROM YOU IN JAIL.

LIKE, YOUR FREEDOM IS ALREADY

TOOKEN, BUT THEN IT'S LIKE A

STEP WHERE YOUR FREEDOM IS

REALLY, REALLY TOOK.

LIKE IT'S JUST, PUNISHMENT IN A

BRUTAL FORM, LIKE.

>> KIDS ARE NOT HANDLED WITH

SENSITIVITY.

THEY'RE HANDLED ROUGHLY AND

WITHOUT AN APPRECIATION OF WHERE

THEY'RE COMING FROM.

>> AFTER MY FATHER'S DEATH AND

MY GRANDMOTHER'S DEATH, LIKE

THOSE WAS TWO PEOPLE THAT ALWAYS

WAS IN OUR LIFE.

>> YOU DON'T KNOW HOW MUCH I GO

THROUGH.

>> IS THIS ABOUT DAD AGAIN?

>> IT'S ONLY BEEN A COUPLE OF

MONTHS SINCE...

>> YOU CAN SAY IT, MA.

SINCE DAD KILLED HIMSELF.

>> SOMETIMES I HATE YOUR FATHER

FOR DOING THAT.

YOUR BABY SISTER BORN DAYS

LATER, AND NOW YOU JUST COMING

HOME.

IT'S JUST TOO MUCH TO BEAR.

>> YOU MAKE ME FEEL LIKE I'M A

BURDEN.

>> YOU'RE NOT A BURDEN.

YOU AND YOUR SISTER ARE THE

ONLY THINGS THAT KEEP ME

MOTIVATED.

>> AND HE'S GONE NOW.

LIKE, THERE'S NO COMING BACK.

I STILL THINK ABOUT IT, LIKE,

EVERY OTHER NIGHT, LIKE I REALLY

THINK ABOUT IT.

LIKE, DAMN, I REALLY LOST MY

FATHER.

IT REALLY HIT ME SOMETIME,

LIKE, AND I REALLY GO THROUGH AN

EMOTIONAL STAGE WHERE, I JUST

SHUT EVERYBODY ELSE OUT.

>> DEAR DAD, I LOVE AND MISS YOU

DEARLY.

THERE'S NOT A DAY GOES BY THAT

WE DON'T THINK ABOUT YOU.

I WISH I COULD SEE YOU AGAIN.

WE COULD TALK AND LAUGH.

BUT WE CAN'T.

I ALWAYS WONDER, WHAT WAS GOING

THROUGH YOUR HEAD THAT NIGHT?

AND I JUST ASK, WHY?

♪♪

SO IT'S ONE, TWO, THREE, AND...

ONE, TWO, THREE, OKAY?

>> WE BRING IN A CHOREOGRAPHER.

OUR CHOREOGRAPHER'S BEEN ON

BROADWAY MANY TIMES.

>> A LOT OF THESE BOYS HAVE

NEVER EXPERIENCED A DANCE CLASS.

>> NO, YOU HOLD -- WHAT ARE YOU

DOING?

THAT'S NOT...

YOUR CHOREOGRAPHY OUTSIDE.

MINE IN HERE.

YES?

OKAY.

>> SO THE FIRST THING I DO IS I

BRING THEM INTO THE WORLD OF

DANCE, AS OPPOSED TO THE OTHER

WAY AROUND.

SO THE FIRST DAY I MAKE SURE TO

LET THEM KNOW THAT THERE'S A WAY

TO CONDUCT YOURSELF.

>> NOW, THERE'S A HUGE

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN...

OKAY.

I'M NOT INTERESTED IN THAT.

I'M INTERESTED IN

>> [ LAUGHS ]

>> FIVE, SIX, SEVEN, EIGHT.

>> I GIVE THEM SOME THINGS DANCE

WISE, AND SEE IF THEY MOVE, HOW

THEY MOVE, WHAT THEY GRAVITATE

TOWARDS.

I TOLD THEM, THE MORE RULES YOU

HAVE IN DANCE, THE FREER YOU GET

TO DANCE.

>> FIVE, SIX, SEVEN, EIGHT.

ONE, TWO, THREE, AND...

POP!

>> THE DANCE?

I WAS HAVING TROUBLE WITH IT AT

FIRST.

I GUESS 'CAUSE I WASN'T PAYING

ATTENTION THE RIGHT WAY.

>> WHAT'S HAPPENING AFTER THIS?

>> AS I STARTED TO PAY ATTENTION

A LITTLE BIT MORE AND FOCUS, I

GOT THE DANCE RIGHT AND I GOT

THE STEPS RIGHT.

>> AND TWO, THREE, FOUR, FIVE...

>> IT'S GOING PRETTY GOOD FOR

ME.

I MEAN, I'M NOT REALLY MUCH

OF A DANCER BUT I DO ENJOY

DANCING, SO IT'S A PRETTY FUN

EXPERIENCE, AND PLUS I ALWAYS

LIKE LEARNING SOMETHING NEW.

I'M LEARNING A NEW DANCE HERE,

SO, YEAH, IT'S GREAT.

>> THEY ENTER THE STAGE DANCING

TO A SONG, AND WE ALWAYS LIKE TO

HAVE CHOREOGRAPHY BECAUSE I

THINK THAT THERE'S SOMETHING

KIND OF, DAZZLING, ABOUT A GROUP

OF ACTORS DOING SOMETHING IN

UNISON, TOGETHER.

IT MAKES AN AUDIENCE SORT OF

SIT UP AND TAKE NOTICE AND IT

WILL IMPRESS THEM THAT THESE

BOYS WERE ABLE TO LEARN

SOMETHING THAT PRECISE AND BE

ABLE TO DO IT TOGETHER.

♪♪

IN ADDITION TO WHAT THEY DO IN

REHEARSAL, WE TOOK THEM TO SEE A

SHOW HERE AT MANHATTAN THEATRE

CLUB, SO THAT THEY SEE A MODEL

OF PROFESSIONAL PERFORMANCE.

>> WE TOOK THEM TO THE THEATRE

TO SEE "OF GOOD STOCK".

PEOPLE WILL GO, "OH, MANHATTAN

THEATRE CLUB.

THEIR AUDIENCE IS KIND OF

WEALTHY AND OLD AND WHITE, THESE

KIDS ARE NOT GOING TO BE ABLE TO

RELATE."

AND THAT'S JUST BALONEY.

>> I CAME TO SEE THIS PLAY

TODAY.

I ENJOYED IT.

IT'S AMAZING.

I'M VERY INSPIRED, AND I'M JUST

READY TO TAKE THE NEXT STEP, YOU

KNOW?

>> THEY LOVED THAT THE SCENES

WENT DEEPER.

THAT THEY EXPLORED THAT, THOSE

TRICKY PARTS OF RELATIONSHIPS.

THAT EVERYTHING WASN'T JUST

WRAPPED UP TIGHT.

>> THE GUY THAT, THEY THREW THE

WATER IN HIS FACE?

HE HAD MY DYING THE WHOLE TIME.

>> THEY CONNECTED TO THOSE

RELATIONSHIPS.

THEY CONNECTED TO THE PAIN.

AND THEY WERE CAPTIVATED.

>> WHAT ELSE WAS GOING ON IN

THAT SCENE?

>> RELEASING THEY HIDDEN

FEELINGS AND STUFF.

>> RELEASING THEIR -- YEAH.

>> WHAT WE'VE REALLY TRIED TO

HAMMER HOME WITH OUR GUYS, TOO,

IN THEIR OWN WRITING IS, LIKE,

TRUTH IS WHAT, YOU KNOW, LIKE,

DON'T WRITE FANTASY, DON'T WRITE

ABOUT THINGS THAT YOU THINK YOU

SHOULD BE WRITING ABOUT.

WRITE ABOUT YOUR TRUTH.

WRITE ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE.

'CAUSE THAT'S WHAT PEOPLE WILL

CONNECT WITH.

>> SO I HAD THEM WORK ON

IMPROVISATIONS AROUND FAMILY AND

LEGACY AND CHARACTERS THAT WERE

VERY SIMILAR EMOTIONALLY TO THE

ONES THAT THEY'D SEE ON STAGE.

>> YOU KNOW YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO

BRING THE SODAS, RIGHT BRO?

>> YEAH...

BUT I HAD TO WALK THE DOG AND I

WENT TO THE HOUSE AND I THINK I

LEFT THE...

>> YOU SUPPOSED TO WALK THE DOG?

TODAY'S THE ANNUAL BARBECUE FOR

OUR PARENTS.

SO WHAT YOU MEAN, WHAT YOU

COMPLAINING FOR?

IF YOU DON'T WANT TO BE A

BIGGER BROTHER?

>> COME ON MAN LET'S COOK THESE

BURGERS.

>> I WAITING ON YOU!

COOK THE DAMN BURGERS.

ALL I'M SAYING IS THAT DAD

WOULD BE HIGHLY DISAPPOINTED AT

YOU LIKE HE WAS FOR MOST OF YOUR

LIFE ANYWAY.

>> SO YOU KNOW WHAT, I'M GONNA

BE A LITTLE BROTHER AND I'M-A DO

IT FOR DAD.

>> ALL RIGHT, WELL, DO IT FOR

DAD, PLEASE.

[ APPLAUSE ]

>> OKAY, SO, DID YOU GUYS CATCH

THAT, THAT THERE WAS AN ANNUAL

BARBECUE THAT THIS WAS SORT OF A

RITUAL, A TRADITION -- A RITUAL

THAT THEY...

>> THERE WAS A LINE, YOU

REMEMBER?

THERE WAS A CERTAIN LINE.

>> YEAH, HE SAID TO FLEEZY

THAT THE PARENTS THEY ALWAYS

BEEN DISAPPOINTED IN YOU.

>> RIGHT, THAT WAS A HUGE LINE.

>> THE OLDER BROTHER WAS MORE

ACCEPTED AND THE MIDDLE

BROTHER -- IT WAS A REASON OF

HIS, LIKE, HIS SELFISHNESS,

BECAUSE HE PROBABLY WASN'T AS

ACCEPTED AS HIS OLDER BROTHER,

SO WHEN HE SAID "DAD," HE

WAS LIKE, "DON'T BRING UP DAD."

AND STUFF LIKE THAT.

>> CAN WE GIVE THEM A HAND?

THEY DID SUCH A GREAT JOB!

[ APPLAUSE ]

>> THE SIZE OF THE COMPANY THIS

YEAR IS LARGER THAN IT'S EVER

BEEN.

WE ACCEPTED 18 YOUNG MEN AT THE

START OF THE PROGRAM.

WE LOST TWO OF THEM, DUE TO

ATTENDANCE AND JUST SORT OF WORK

HABITS, AND AS A WORK READINESS

PROGRAM, WE NEED TO SAY TO THEM,

YOU KNOW, IF YOU MISS WORK THREE

DAYS IN A ROW WITHOUT CALLING,

WHAT WOULD HAPPEN AT A JOB?

WELL, THIS IS A JOB.

>> DIDN'T SHOW UP AND DIDN'T

CALL, SO IF YOU ALL ARE IN TOUCH

WITH HIM, YOU BETTER CALL HIM

BECAUSE WE'RE READY TO GIVE HIM

A LETTER.

>> WE HAVE SOME PRETTY STRINGENT

RULES ABOUT EXCESSIVE LATENESS,

ABOUT ABSENCE.

YOU KNOW AND PEOPLE WHO VIOLATE

THE RULES ARE SUBJECT TO

TERMINATION.

>> WE LOVE HIM AND WE HAVE TRIED

TO DO EVERYTHING WE CAN TO KEEP

HIM AND TO UNDERSTAND THAT HIS

MOM PULLS HIM AWAY, BUT HE

DIDN'T CALL AND HE DIDN'T SHOW

UP AND IT'S LIKE THE 15th TIME.

AND WHAT'S OUR LIMIT?

THREE.

>> SOMETIMES, PEOPLE FALL

AWAY.

THEY'RE NOT ABLE TO DO

SOMETHING, BUT WE'RE TRYING OUR

HARDEST TO GET EVERYBODY ACROSS

THE FINISH LINE.

>> AFTER TWO ABSENCES YOU'RE

GIVEN A WARNING.

AFTER A THIRD YOU'RE GIVEN A

WRITTEN WARNING AND AFTER THAT

YOU'RE LET GO AND WE DEFINITELY

PUSHED THAT WITH SAYQUAN BECAUSE

WE KNOW THAT HE HAS A LOT GOING

ON.

>> THE BEST THING IS TO STAND

AND TALK, BETTER THAN TO SCAN

AND THE WALK.

>> WE HAD TO LET SAYQUAN, ONE OF

THE TWINS, GO.

HE'S ONE OF THE BOYS THAT,

UNFORTUNATELY, HIS ATTENDANCE

WAS SO ERRATIC, AND WHEN HE WAS

HERE HE WAS FANTASTIC.

HE ACTUALLY HAD A VERY STRONG

PRESENCE ONSTAGE.

>> I AM A BASKETBALL THAT CAN

ONLY BOUNCE FEELINGS, EMOTIONS

AND PAIN.

MAYBE IF I HOLD THE BALL, "I AM"

CAN TURN INTO "I'M NOT

MOVING" -- NOT LETTING OUT YOUR

FEELINGS, BEING FOREVER BLIND

AND SOBER FOR LIFE.

>> IT'S REALLY NOT EVEN ABOUT

FIRING HIM 'CAUSE HE MESSED UP.

>> IT'S ABOUT THE PLAY HAS TO

MOVE FORWARD AND HE'S NOT THERE

FOR THAT, AND SO I THINK THAT'S

WHY IT'S EVEN EASIER FOR HIM

TO EVEN UNDERSTAND.

HE KNEW THAT.

HE'S A SMART KID.

AND HE'S SADDENED BY IT, BUT,

YOU KNOW.

>> I'M HOPING TO HAVE A REASON

THAT I WAS HERE.

'CAUSE AFTER THIS IS ALL OVER...

I KNOW I'M GOING TO DO MORE THAN

WHAT I DID IN STARGATE.

>> THEY LOVE EACH OTHER VERY

MUCH AND THEY SUPPORT EACH

OTHER VERY MUCH AND IT'S A

REALLY -- THEY'RE VERY INSPIRING

TOGETHER.

>> HOPEFULLY ONE DAY, YOU KNOW,

I'M WANT TO HAVE MONEY IN MY

POCKET.

MAYBE I'LL COME OUT ON

FORTY-DEUCE WITH A BUCKET, PUT

IT DOWN NEXT TO ME AND JUST

SPEAK MY WORDS.

>> JAYQUAN, WHO WAS VERY SAD AND

WANTED TO LEAVE WHEN HIS BROTHER

HAD TO LEAVE, DECIDED TO STAY

AND HE SAID, "I'M GOING TO WORK

REALLY HARD TO MAKE THIS WORK

AND I'M GOING TO DO IT FOR MY

BROTHER."

WHEN I FINISH ALL OF THIS, I

WANT TO FEEL GOOD ABOUT MYSELF.

THAT I DID THIS...

FOR HIM.

WE DID IT FOR OUR-SELF.

BUT WE DID IT TOGETHER.

SO YEAH.

>> I LOVE THAT DUDE.

THIS IS ME RIGHT HERE.

>> NAH, THAT'S ME.

>> THAT'S JUST ME.

>> MOVING INTO THE THEATRE IS A

GREAT EXPERIENCE.

I LOVE IT BECAUSE NOW THEY'RE

IN THE ACTUAL SPACE.

>> ALL RIGHT.

LET'S GO FROM "DEAR BOYS IN

BLUE".

>> THEY'RE IN A ROOM WHERE THEY

UNDERSTAND HOW MUCH THEY NEED TO

PROJECT THEIR VOICES.

>> THE MORE I SIT IN SILENCE THE

MORE HE HEARS.

>> I FEEL LIKE WE'RE ALL GOING

TO DO AN EXCELLENT JOB.

I FEEL LIKE NO ONE WILL SLIP UP.

I FEEL LIKE EVEN IF SOMEONE

DOES SLIP UP, WE'LL SUPPORT EACH

OTHER.

SO IT'S GONNA BE A SMASH HIT.

>> MY FAMILY AND MY FRIENDS ARE

COMING OUT TO SEE ME AND I WANT

TO PUT ON THE BEST SHOW

POSSIBLE.

>> All: OOH.

I FEEL SO GOOD.

I FEEL SO GOOD.

>> THE BOYS GET VERY EXCITED.

THEY GET THEIR DRESSING ROOMS.

THEY SEE THEIR NAME IN FRONT OF

THEM.

EACH OF THEM HAS THEIR PLACE.

>> BOTH OF YOU, SHUT UP.

>> THEY BUMP THEIR WORK UP TO

THE NEXT LEVEL.

>> HERE WE GO!

>> AND THEY JUST BECOME MORE

DISCIPLINED AND MORE

PROFESSIONAL IN THAT SPACE.

>> STEVE WILL PUT US ON THE

STAGE, AND HE DON'T LIKE

QUESTIONS.

SO, DON'T INTERRUPT HIM.

>> I GOT NO TIME TO BE NICE

RIGHT NOW, I GOT TO GET YOU GUYS

TO BE GOOD...

BECAUSE I CARE.

>> IF I HAVE TO PUSH THEM AND BE

HARD ON THEM AND SOMETIMES I

HAVE TO RAISE MY VOICE, AND I

RAISE MY VOICE A LOT WITH THEM,

THEY KNOW I'M DOING IT BECAUSE I

LOVE THEM AND I WANT THEM TO

CROSS THE FINISH LINE.

>> HIM BEING A GOOD DIRECTOR,

EVEN THOUGH HE HAD TO BE

AGGRESSIVE WITH IT.

>> YOU MUST STAND STILL.

IT RUINS THE SHOW.

CAN YOU TELL FROM THE TONE OF

MY VOICE HOW SERIOUS AN ISSUE

THIS IS?

>> HE BROUGHT IT OUT OF US, AND

THEN THE NEXT DAY, FOR THE SHOW,

IT JUST GOT EVEN BETTER.

LIKE, IT JUST KEPT GETTING

BETTER AND BETTER AND BETTER.

>> IT'S NOT, OH IT'S GOOD, FOR

THEM.

IT'S GOOD 'CAUSE THEY'RE KIDS.

IT'S GOOD 'CAUSE THEY'RE

NON-ACTORS.

NO.

I WANT THE AUDIENCE TO WALK

AWAY AND GO THAT WAS THE MOST

EXCITING TIME I'VE HAD IN THE

THEATRE IN A LONG TIME.

PERIOD.

>> IT FEELS GOOD.

WE GOT THAT TAKEN CARE OF.

TODAY WAS A LONG DAY, BUT I HAVE

TO SAY, THAT RUN-THROUGH YOU DID

TODAY WAS PRETTY FLAWLESS.

WE NEED TO BE HERE TOMORROW AT

NOON IS OUR CALL TIME.

YEAH.

>> THE NIGHT BEFORE -- A NIGHT

BEFORE THE PLAY.

>> WE GOT IT.

WE GOT IT.

WE GOING TO MAKE IT.

>> WE GONNA MAKE IT.

>> WE GONNA MAKE IT.

WE GONNA MAKE IT.

>> [ LAUGHS ]

LATER!

>> TWO OF OUR COMPANY MEMBERS

ARE AN HOUR LATE FOR THEIR CALL.

I'M TRYING TO TRACK THEM DOWN.

IN ANY WAY I CAN.

[ SIGHS ]

I'VE GOT FLEEZY'S FACEBOOK

ACCOUNT OPEN.

I'M TRYING TO CONTACT ADAM AND

E-MAILING JAMARI EVEN THOUGH I

KNOW HE DOESN'T HAVE A PHONE.

WELL, WE WERE WAITING ON TWO.

YOU KNOW.

JAMARI CAME IN ABOUT 20 MINUTES

AGO.

AND THEN ADAM JUST CAME IN.

I ACTUALLY HAVEN'T HAD A CHANCE

TO FIND OUT WHY HE WAS TWO HOURS

LATE ALMOST FOR HIS CALL TIME.

>> THE E-TRAIN WAS DELAYED FOR

LIKE AN HOUR.

>> IT DOESN'T MATTER, I GUESS,

AT THIS POINT, BECAUSE HE'S HERE

AND HE'LL BE FINE.

[ Laughing ] EVERYTHING'S GOING

TO BE FINE.

>> MY MOM'S GONNA COME, AND

HOPEFULLY MY POPS.

>> MY BROTHER, MY OTHER SISTER.

MY SISTER AND MY COUSIN.

ONE OF MY GIRLS.

>> I'M GONNA HAVE A COUPLE GIRLS

COME SEE ME.

>> WE'RE GONNA CLOSE OUR EYES.

OKAY, TAKE A DEEP BREATH.

>> HAVE A GREAT, GREAT, GREAT

SHOW.

♪♪

>> I HATE IT, I HATE JAIL.

>> SO WHY ARE YOU ALWAYS

LISTENING TO HIM?

WHY ARE YOU NOT LISTENING TO ME?

>> WE NEED TO START TAKING PINS

WHILE WE IN HERE.

WE NEED AS MUCH PHONE CALLS AS

POSSIBLE.

DON'T WORRY ABOUT WHAT HE'S

SAYING.

WE GOT TO SURVIVE IN HERE.

WE GOT TO SURVIVE.

>> LEAVE ME ALONE!

>> WHAT?

>> IT'S BECAUSE OF YOU I'M IN

HERE!

>> I THOUGHT WE WAS ONE.

>> NO!

IT'S ALWAYS ABOUT YOU TELLING

ME THE WRONG...TO DO.

>> [ LAUGHS ]

IT'S NOT WRONG, BRO.

IT JUST ENDS UP BAD.

>> NO.

>> THERE'S SO MUCH I NEVER SAID

THAT I WISH I COULD TELL THAT

KID THAT WAS ME THAT...

THEM PEOPLE YOU CALL YOUR

FRIENDS, THEY AREN'T YOUR

FRIENDS.

OLD ME, YOU NEED TO MAKE BETTER

DECISIONS.

>> 'CAUSE YOU GOT PUT ON THE

STREET.

>> 'CAUSE YOU DISOBEYED THE

HAND.

>> 'CAUSE YOU MADE IT YOUR OWN.

>> 'CAUSE YOU GOT A NEW HOME.

>> 'CAUSE THEY ADOPTED YOU.

>> 'CAUSE THEY THOUGHT YOU WERE

CUTE.

>> Both: 'CAUSE YOU WERE BORN.

>> MY MAMA ALWAYS MAKES ME FIX

EVERYTHING.

>> ENRIQUE CLAUDIO ORTIZ, GET

YOU'RE...UP AND FIX THE TOILET.

SEE WHAT I MEAN?

YO MA, I'M NOT THE ONLY PERSON

THAT LIVE HERE YOU KNOW?

>> YOU KNOW YOUR BROTHERS ARE A

BUNCH OF GOOD FOR NOTHINGS!

>> THOSE LAZY MOTHER--

[ ALL CLAP ]

WATCH YOUR MOUTH!

>> All: DEAR COPS.

DEAR JUSTICE SYSTEM.

DEAR UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

WE'RE ONLY GOING TO UNDERSTAND

EACH OTHER WHEN YOU LIVE IN MY

SHOES, WHEN YOU SEE HOW I MUST

ACT, THINK, AND PORTRAY MYSELF

IN THESE UNORGANIZED, UNSAFE

NEIGHBORHOODS.

>> IT WILL BE A WONDERFUL THING

THE YEAR THAT STARGATE DOES NOT

HAVE TO DO A BLACK LIVES MATTER

SECTION.

I WILL BE REJOICING THE YEAR

THAT WE CAN STOP CALLING THE

NAMES OF THE DEAD.

>> All: WHEN YOU SAY "HAND'S UP"

WE HEAR --

[ GUNSHOT ]

>> AMADOU DIALLO.

[ GUNSHOT ]

>> MALCOLM FERGUSON.

[ GUNSHOT ]

>> PRINCE JONES.

[ GUNSHOT ]

>> SEAN BELL.

>> THEY RESEARCHED, WE SAID, YOU

KNOW, LET'S GET A LIST -- 16

NAMES, ONE FOR EACH BOY, OF

ANY YOUNG MAN WHO HAS BEEN

KILLED, UNARMED, BY A POLICE

OFFICER.

>> WALTER SCOTT.

[ GUNSHOT ]

FREDDIE GRAY.

[ GUNSHOT ]

SAMUEL DUBOSE.

[ GUNSHOT ]

♪♪

>> AND THEN WE'VE TAKEN THIS

SONG AND UNDERSCORED THIS

BEAUTIFUL, SORT OF ABSTRACT

DANCE PIECE...

ABOUT FEELING TRAPPED, FEELING

CONFINED...

BEING SHOT...

BEING HANDCUFFED.

THEY THEN ALL LAY DOWN ON THE

GROUND.

>> [ STOMPS ]

>> All: I CAN'T BREATHE.

ERIC GARNER.

>> ONE BOY DOES SIGN LANGUAGE...

>> ♪ EVERY ONE OF US

♪ HAD TO COME HOME AGAIN

♪ WE ALL

>> AND THEY CHALK OUT THE

OUTLINE OF THEIR BODIES...

WHICH HAPPENS AT CRIME SCENES.

>> ♪ HAS TO COME HOME AGAIN

>> THEN, DENZEL WROTE THIS

BEAUTIFUL PAGE-LONG MONOLOGUE

>> LIKE A FIXED RACE, WE RUN

AGAINST A COMPROMISED FATE.

[ BELL TOLLS ]

♪♪

STILL WE FIGHT.

STILL SHE FIGHTS.

HER BABY'S BLOOD CRAYONS THE

STREETS, AND ALL SHE'S LEFT WITH

IS A TOMBSTONE AND POOR EXCUSES

TO HEAVILY GAUZE THE PAIN SHE

BLEEDS.

ALL FOR HALF A NICK OF WEED.

STILL SHE FIGHTS.

>> WHEN DENZEL SAID HIS SPEECH,

IT WAS JUST REALLY LIKE, THAT

PART JUST LIKE HEARTBROKE

EVERYONE, LIKE EVERYONE JUST

SITTING THERE LIKE, LOOKING

>> THIS IS A NEW BEGINNING.

THIS IS A SECOND CHANCE.

>> YOU JUST SEE US GET UP AND

YOU JUST STILL SEE THE OUTLINE

OF THE CHALK OF THE BODY ON THE

FLOOR.

AND THAT PERSON'S NAME YOU JUST

SAID, YOU JUST ENVISION IT LIKE,

DAMN THEY THERE, AND THEY'RE NOT

GONNA BE ABLE TO SAY THE THINGS

THAT WE'RE SAYING NOW.

>> NO VIOLENCE OR NO SILENCE,

JUST THE LAUGHTER OF PEOPLE AND

THE SOUNDS OF --

>> All: THE FUTURE.

>> ROBOTS OPERATING MACHINES.

CARS FLOATING IN THE AIR.

>> MY SISTER HAS KIDS, MY

BROTHER'S LIVING BIG.

>> I SEE MYSELF IN THE KITCHEN,

DOING WHAT I LOVE.

>> I OWN MY OWN PLACE, HOLDING

CAR KEYS, ROLLING THROUGH A

NEWLY ENHANCED CITY.

>> WE DONE AWAY WITH

HOMELESSNESS.

MORE PEOPLE ARE MAKING IT IN

LIFE, AND THERE ARE MORE HAPPY

FACES.

>> I LOOK THROUGH MY WALLS,

SINCE I LIVE IN A GLASS HOUSE,

WHICH HOVERS OVER THE HIMALAYAS.

I CAN SEE EVERYTHING AROUND ME.

I AM A 40-YEAR-OLD EXPLORER.

>> AFTER WE GOT UP FROM THE DEAD

BODIES AND WE WAS DOING THE

FUTURE LINES AND I SEEN ONE GUY

LIKE IN THE FRONT ROW AND HE WAS

JUST FIGHTING HIS TEARS.

YOU JUST SEE RUNNING DOWN HIS

FACE.

HE'S JUST LOST FOR WORDS.

HE COULDN'T EVEN TALK.

HE'S JUST WATCHING LIKE, THAT'S

JUST WHAT WE WANTED TO GET

ACROSS.

LIKE, BLACK LIVES DO MATTER,

TOO.

♪♪

>> ♪ I LOOK INTO THE WINDOW OF

MY MIND ♪

♪ REFLECTIONS OF THE FEARS I

KNOW I'VE LEFT BEHIND ♪

♪ I STEP OUT OF THE ORDINARY

♪ I CAN FEEL MY SOUL ASCENDING

♪ I'M ON MY WAY, CAN'T STOP ME

NOW ♪

[ CHEERS ]

>> WE ALL CAME TOGETHER AND

BROUGHT OUR LIVES IN, LIKE OUR

PARTS OF LIFE, WHAT WE WENT

THROUGH, YOU KNOW, AND BROUGHT

IT ALL TOGETHER IN A PLAY, AND

TO HAVE PEOPLE CLAP FOR US

BECAUSE OF THAT, YO, THAT'S

AMAZING.

[ CHEERS AND APPLAUSE ]

>> YO, WE DONE IT!

>> I WANT THEM TO WAKE UP ON

SUNDAY MORNING AFTER THE SHOW

AND FEEL LIKE THE PROUDEST MEN

IN THE WORLD.

THAT THEY SAID, "WE DID, NOT

JUST THE BEST WE COULD DO, WE

DID AN AWESOME JOB."

>> OH, ONCE IT WAS ALL OVER, I'M

I JUST THINKING ABOUT IT, LIKE,

I EVEN WOKE UP THE NEXT DAY JUST

HAPPY LIKE, "DAMN, LIKE WE

REALLY DID IT."

>> THIS DAY IS ABOUT REFLECTION

AND LOOKING BACK AND TAKING THE

TIME TO LOOK AT WHAT WE'VE

DONE.

>> I THOUGHT STARGATE WAS GOING

TO BE A NEW EXPERIENCE, THEN I

THOUGHT IT WAS GOING TO BE A

WASTE OF MY TIME, THEN I THOUGHT

IT WAS GOING TO BE A HEADACHE.

>> I THOUGHT EVERYONE WAS TOO

FRIENDLY.

LIKE, I WAS LIKE, "EVERYBODY'S

SO HAPPY."

LIKE, WE'RE SUPPOSED TO BE

HAPPY?

>> I THOUGHT MANHATTAN THEATRE

CLUB WAS A COMMERCIAL.

I THOUGHT I WAS GONNA GET KICKED

OUT AS SOON AS I WALKED IN.

>> I THOUGHT IT WAS ANOTHER

PROGRAM.

>> THEN I THOUGHT IT WAS A WAY

TO FIND ANOTHER MOVIE STAR.

LIKE, WE ALL PERFORMED AND

WHOEVER DID IT BEST WAS GOING TO

PLAY IN A MOVIE.

[ LAUGHTER ]

>> I THOUGHT THIS WOULD BE A

REALLY EASY LEARNING EXPERIENCE.

I THOUGHT I KNEW A LOT MORE THAN

I ACTUALLY DID.

BUT IT TURNS OUT, DAMN, I'VE

GOT A WAY MORE TO LEARN.

>> I DIDN'T DO NO ACTING LIKE

THAT.

ESPECIALLY LIKE, IN SCHOOL, I

AIN'T DO NOTHING.

I AIN'T DO NO PLAYS, NO NONE OF

THAT, BUT NOW, I REALLY SEEN HOW

PEOPLE OUT OF SCHOOL DO A REAL,

REAL PLAY AND BRING IT TOGETHER.

WE ALL PEOPLE -- WE ALL PUT IT

TOGETHER.

>> IT HAS BEEN AFFECTING ME

EVERY DAY OF MY LIFE.

>> IN WHAT WAY?

>> THE OTHER DAY, I GOT

ARRESTED.

>> THE QUESTION WE ALWAYS GET

IS, YOU KNOW, "WHAT ARE YOUR

RE-ARREST RATES?

HOW BIG CAN YOU MAKE THIS?

HOW CAN YOU IMPACT MORE AND MORE

KIDS IN SOCIETY, AND WHAT ARE

THE OUTCOMES AND IT'S A LOT OF

PRESSURE ON A SMALL PROGRAM

THAT'S REALLY MEANT TO TOUCH THE

LIVES OF YOUNG PEOPLE ON THEIR

TERMS.

>> I GOT ARRESTED AND THE COP

LET ME GO.

FEEL ME.

HE WAS TELLING ME LIKE, NOT ALL

COPS ARE THE SAME.

THAT HE WANTED TO CHANGE THE

WAY THINGS ARE.

YOU UNDERSTAND?

AND THEN, WHEN I WAS IN THE

CELL, I WAS THINKING "DIRTY

WALLS WITH YELLOW STAINS."

I SEEN IT, I WAS IN THERE.

I'M LIKE, "YO, I JUST KNEW I

DON'T BELONG HERE."

>> THE BAR IS REALLY HIGH, AND

THE PRESSURE IS REALLY HIGH ON

THESE YOUNG PEOPLE TO TURN ONE

EXPERIENCE LIKE THIS INTO A

MAJOR LIFE TRANSFORMATION.

WHEN THAT ISN'T THE WAY THAT WE

HANDLE THE REST OF THE WORLD.

>> BUT WHAT DID YOU LEARN ABOUT

YOURSELF AS AN ARTIST OVER THE

PERIOD OF WORKING WITH STARGATE?

GO.

>> WHAT I'VE LEARNED AS AN

ARTIST IS THAT, YOUR MIND IS

YOUR STRONGEST TOOL.

AND IT JUST OPENS UP AS FAR AS

YOU WANT IT TO GO.

YOU KNOW, JUST DON'T EVER STOP

YOURSELF.

THAT'S IT.

KEEP MOVING FORWARD.

YOU ALREADY KNOW WHAT I'M

SAYING.

>> THAT YOU ACHIEVE TO PROJECT

YOUR VOICE AND THAT YOU GOT YOUR

IMAGE OUT TO THE AUDIENCE.

>> IT BROUGHT ME SO MUCH

CONFIDENCE.

>> SO MUCH MOTIVATION.

IT PUSHED ME TO DO THIS MORE

OFTEN.

I'M DEFINITELY LOOKING FORWARD

TO BEING ACTORS.

>> IT'S AN INCREDIBLY INTENSE

EXPERIENCE THAT YIELDS REALLY

INTENSE EMOTIONS AND AN UNUSUAL

CLOSENESS, AND THEN IT'S OVER.

>> IF YOU'RE FEELING KIND OF

JAMMED UP, OR FEELING, LIKE,

A LITTLE BIT SAD OR POST-SHOW

DEPRESSION, THAT'S A NORMAL

THING.

>> I WISH THAT FEELING, THAT

MOMENT, JUST LASTED LONGER.

I JUST WANT THAT MOMENT TO LAST

FOREVER AND EVER.

>> THIS WAS SUCH AN INCREDIBLE

HIGH FOR THEM, YOU KNOW?

AND WHEN THAT'S GONE, THEY'RE

GONNA FEEL A HUGE VOID.

>> JUST CRASH, THAT HAPPENS.

>> AND CRASH.

>> WHEN ALL OF THIS WAS OVER AND

I WENT BACK TO WORK, ON THE

FIRST DAY BACK, SOMEBODY'S

STEALING MONEY, THERE'S NO

TRUST, MY BOSS IS JUST CRAZY,

I'M LIKE, "YO, I DON'T WANT TO

BE HERE, TAKE ME BACK TO THE

THEATER!"

>> JUST KNOW THAT ITS OKAY TO

FEEL A LITTLE BIT DOWN THIS

WEEK, OR THE NEXT DAY AFTER THE

SHOW OR WHATEVER, BUT TO

REMEMBER WHAT MADE YOU FEEL

REALLY GOOD ABOUT IT AND THAT

WAS COMMITTING TO SOMETHING.

THAT WAS SEEING SOMETHING

THROUGH.

THAT WAS TRUSTING.

THAT WAS BEING VULNERABLE.

>> I HOPE BY THE END OF

STARGATE, AND FOR THE REST OF

THEIR LIVES, THEY'LL BE ABLE TO

CARRY WITH THEM THE EXPERIENCE

OF HAVING STOOD IN THEIR OWN

SKIN AND DELIVERED THEIR TRUTH

CONFIDENTLY.

>> IF THEY WALK AWAY FROM THIS

FEELING A LITTLE MORE CONFIDENT

IN THEIR ABILITIES AND THEIR

VOICES AND KNOW THAT THEIR IDEAS

MATTER, THEN WE'VE ACHIEVED A

LOT, RIGHT?

AND THAT'S GOING TO TRANSFER

INTO ANYTHING THEY DO.

IT'LL HELP THEM IN SCHOOL.

IT'LL HELP THEM IN A WORKPLACE.

IT'LL HELP THEM IF THEY DO

ANOTHER CREATIVE ENDEAVOR.

>> TO BE GIVEN NOT ONLY

PERMISSION TO BE CREATIVE AND TO

BE SOMETHING DIFFERENT, BUT TO

DO IT ON AN OFF-BROADWAY STAGE

WITH AN EMMY AWARD-WINNING

PLAYWRIGHT AND A DIRECTOR AND A

COMPANY LIKE THIS -- TO SET THE

BAR AS HIGH AS WE DO AND TO SEE

THESE GUYS RISING TO THE

OCCASION IS JUST INCREDIBLY

MOVING.

>> I WOULDN'T EVEN BE HERE RIGHT

NOW, PROBABLY, IF IT WASN'T

FOR ME GETTING INCARCERATED.

IF IT WASN'T FOR ME MEETING

STARGATE OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT,

DURING THE SUMMER I COULD HAVE

GOTTEN IN TROUBLE OR SOMETHING

LIKE THAT IF I WASN'T FULLY

MOTIVATED OR LOOKING FORWARD TO

SOMETHING.

>> I'M LEARNING HOW TO BE

INDEPENDENT.

I LEARNED HOW TO BE A MAN ON MY

OWN.

>> I RESPECT EVERYONE I MEET,

BUT FOR PEOPLE TO SHOW YOU THAT

SAME RESPECT, IS LIKE -- IT'S

INCREDIBLE, 'CAUSE IT'S NOT

EVERYWHERE YOU GO, YOU GET SHOWN

THE RESPECT THAT YOU GET SHOWN

HERE.

>> MY SHADOW IS A CHAMELEON THAT

HIDES IN PLAIN SIGHT.

ONCE I HAVE RESPECT FOR MYSELF

AND LOVE MYSELF, THAT'S WHEN

I'M BE ABLE TO FEEL COMFORTABLE,

NOT ONLY IN STARGATE, BUT

THROUGHOUT LIFE.

>> WHEN WE ARE ALL SO DESPERATE,

THERE IS NOTHING LEFT TO DIVIDE

US.

>> I THINK ABOUT MY FUTURE, WHEN

I FEEL LIKE SOMETHING BAD IS

ABOUT TO HAPPEN...

WHEN I FEEL LIKE I'M ABOUT TO

GET INTO SOMETHING THAT I'M NOT

SUPPOSED TO GET INTO.

I JUST THINK ABOUT MY FUTURE,

'CAUSE IT'S WORTH WAY MORE.

>> YOU KNOW SOMETIMES I SIT AND

THINK ABOUT MY LIFE AND ITS TRUE

PURPOSE.

>> IT FELT LIKE I ACTUALLY

ACCOMPLISHED SOMETHING, IT FELT

LIKE I WAS A PART OF SOMETHING.

IT FELT LIKE I HAD GREATER

MEANING, SO IT WAS, IT WAS A

PRETTY SHOCKING AND AMAZING

EXPERIENCE.

>> I AM JAMARI.

>> I AM MARQUIS.

>> I AM ENRIQUE.

>> I AM DENZEL.

>> I'M FLEEZY.

>> I'M ADAM.

>> I'M JOSH.

>> I'M LEVITICUS.

>> I'M MESHACH.

>> I AM SAM.

>> I'M MIKE.

>> I'M JAYQUAN.

>> I'M TJ.

[ CHEERS AND APPLAUSE ]

>> Announcer: ...AS PART OF

"CHASING THE DREAM -- POVERTY

AND OPPORTUNITY IN AMERICA."

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