Thanks to DC Metro Theater Arts for originally running this preview.
You’ve run marathons in Kuala Lumpur, did the half Ironman in Hawaii, and proved your mettle on the now-quaint Tough Mudder race course as well as its clones. But where to go for your next adrenaline rush? You check your social media feed in desperation, wondering if you’ve peaked as a weekend warrior athlete/IT project manager. But then you see it, between posts touting gun-lust and unfettered abortions… An advertisement for your next physical challenge… Prison Break!
What’s Prison Break? It’s a week-long fundraiser at the for-profit Ravenstown Prison, where you’ll live as an inmate among inmates until the whole experience ends in a race masquerading as an escape. (Don’t worry, the gangbangers and neo-Nazis have been transferred elsewhere – not that you’re afraid of them!) Inside, you’ll meet Nathan Duncan (Andrew Flurer), the oft-stoned pot dealer and sometimes dog walker, who’s not only hiding out after a drug deal gone wrong but has also just been arrested on marijuana distribution charges. And to think this guy was once a high-priced management consultant!
He’s been sent to Ravenstown by his moneybags mother (Kimberlee Wolfson) – a real estate mogul with a shady side hustle – who fears his once-promising life is spiraling out of control. Perhaps a dose of prison will encourage him to change his slacker, quasi-socialist and nihilistic ways? Along for the ride is his life-coach pal, Ellie (Karen Elle), who hopes to help Nathan while also drumming up new business among the Type-A MBAs who do these events. You know, people like you.
Together, you’ll participate in the prison’s wellness-inspired rehabilitation programs, tangle with its corrupt and authoritarian Chief of Guards (Karin Rosnizeck), and endure the showy pretensions of its innovation- and stock options-obsessed Administrator (Joseph Mariano), whose latest inmate education program – a marijuana grow house concept called Way to Grow – has attracted the interest of a crusading journalist (Nichole Chimere) and is drawing protest from the community. Will their efforts upend the perceived exploitation of Ravenstown’s inmates (especially the hapless Eddie, played by Samuel Wright) and convince you to abandon your gentrifying ways? Or will you opt for another juice cleanse to purify your soul?
This world-premiere satire, directed with whimsical élan by Natalia Gleason, opens July 9th at Gallaudet’s Eastman Studio Theater. It promises a whirlwind survey of your life and times, taking you from the farmers market and power yoga studio to the hole (you will learn the prison lingo soon enough) and the seedy expanse of North Sketchy Town (a.k.a., NoSkeTo), that soon-to-be upscale neighborhood that you hope will one day deliver fulfillment and a life dripping with honey. Well, if that hoodlum Greasy Thumbz (Sebastian Leighton) and the Big Poppa Crew cede their turf, anyway.
Prison Break, Incorporated is a comedic tour de farce about hope, acceptance, and rebirth. You’ll see nothing else like it at this year’s Capital Fringe Festival – guaranteed!