Sing-Sing Prisoners perform Shakespeare behind bars

WABC logo
Monday, May 9, 2016
Sing-Sing prisoners perform Shakespeare behind bars
EMBED <>More Videos

Entertainment reporter Sandy Kenyon has the latest details..

OSSINING (WABC) -- William Shakespeare wrote that 'all the world's a stage.'

Now prisoners at Sing-Sing are giving the immortal Bard's words new meaning.

Samuel Morris, originally from Flatbush, has spent more that 30 years behind bars.

He and Joseph Occhione from the Bronx are part of a program called 'Rehabilitation Through the Arts.'

Both are currently performing in a prison production of Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night."

Morris says, "R.T.A. is a program that allows me to be myself."

"Instead of putting on these shields in here," Occhione adds, "People don't look at you as a coward or timid or any one of those things."

His former partners in crime would be surprised to find 'Flash' wearing a wig and performing.

Michael Capra, the warden, says, "80% of my guys are in here for violent crime. It takes a lot of guts to get up there and do what they do."

Another inmate, Tim Walker, says, "It was the first time in my life that I actually felt I was able to give back without any ulterior motive."

Walker adds that, no matter the noise or the distractions, doing the play makes him human again."

Walker and the others say the R.T.A. program has taught them greater patience.

And the warden has seen a change for the better in those that participate.