INSIDE OUR SKINS
(Premiere May 15, 2019)
NEW YORK LIVE ARTS
Why 63 cents? On average, incarcerated people in New York State earn 63 cents per hour. Inside our Skins calls the attention to the ongoing and still legal practice of forced labor, permitted under the 13th Amendment ’s exception allowing slavery as a "punishment for crime.” Tabula Rasa Dance Theater hopes that by charging 63 cents per ticket, Inside Our Skins will bring more awareness to this human rights issue as well as allow people who could not normally afford to attend a performance to experience dance.
"Qui Pro Domina Justitia Sequitur"
The title of the dance piece is derived from Tennessee Williams, who wrote, “We’re all sentenced to solitary confinement inside our own skins, for life.” The Latin sub-title is the motto of the Department of Justice. The phrase has been translated by the Department to mean “who prosecutes on behalf of justice (or of Lady Justice).”
Today Justice is miscarried, misunderstood, and misinterpreted. Nowadays people are tried and condemned via social media.
We know for certain that people of color are the most prosecuted and punished population, due to systemic racism.
Torture in a multitude of forms has existed as a means of brutal control throughout history. We are the only species on the planet that intentionally and systematically inflicts punitive pain on our own kind, in both overt and insidious ways. Even the manipulation of light inside a prison cell is a form of torture, as it irrevocably impairs the circadian rhythms necessary for a balanced life .
Among other issues, “Inside Our Skins” explores the emotional disorders imposed on prisoners in the name of rehabilitation. Prisoners, as well as their families, will likely be permanently damaged as a result of incarceration, continuing the cycle of drug abuse, arrest, and imprisonment.
We believe that mass incarceration is an outcome and extension of historical mass enslavement. This most egregious form of dehumanization has never stopped. Just a few generations ago, a slave buyer, before making his purchase, would test the health of human chattel by licking sweat off a captive's neck. (Salinity was considered a sign of fitness.) The present-day descendants of that same human chattel are likely to be captives too, subjected to equally dehumanizing and degrading practices.