An award-winning play written by a prison inmate 25 years ago is Poetic Justice Projects newest production. Dan McMullan wrote BLYTHE, a tenderhearted comedy set in a prison town, when he was incarcerated at Chuckawalla Valley State Prison. The play placed first in a statewide prison playwriting contest. It was scheduled for a staged reading in 1992 at the Ivar Theater in Hollywood, in a benefit sponsored by Ed Asner and Edward James Olmos.
But two days before the show, the prison's warden pulled the plug on the performance, although the second- and third-place plays were performed. The Los Angeles Times published an article about the controversial play titled Go Directly to Jail, Dont Collect $200, Dont Write a Play.
Now Poetic Justice Projects company of formerly incarcerated actors will give BLYTHE its premiere in several locations statewide. The play is directed by Leah Joki, author of the memoir Juilliard to Jail and writer/performer of the one-woman play PRISON BOXING. The playwright studied theatre and creative writing with Ms. Joki in the Arts in Corrections program at Chuckawalla Valley State Prison.
Dan McMullan paroled in 1991 and has worked with disabled homeless people for 20 years as the director of the Disabled People Outside Project. He is currently a Commissioner for the Human Welfare and Community Action Commission for the City of Berkeley, as well as a writer and editorial board member of Street Spirit newspaper. Mr. McMullan lives in Berkeley with his wife Katy and two sons.
Poetic Justice Project (PJP) is the only theatre company in the state comprised of formerly incarcerated actors appearing in plays that examine crime, punishment and redemption. Based in Santa Maria, the project was founded by Artistic Director Deborah Tobola in 2009. A program of the award-winning William James Association, PJP enjoys continuing support from the Fund for Santa Barbara. For more information, visit poeticjusticeproject.org or find Poetic Justice Project on Facebook.
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