‘Incarcerated 6×9’: A story of hope and survival inside prison

‘Incarcerated 6×9’:  A story of hope and survival inside prison

APICC and Kularts present a creative non-fiction inspired by incarceration accounts of Fil-Ams

The era of mass immigration in the past has also coincided with an era of mass imprisonment in the United States, which has further transformed paths to adulthood among young me.  Incarceration rate in the U.S. has become the highest of any country in the world, according to Migration Policy. In California alone, there are more people imprisoned than in any other country in the world except China.

Filipino-Americans are not spared from this reality.  In fact, a new dance-media work inspired by the real incarceration stories of San Francisco Fil-Ams goes onstage at Bindlestiff Studio from May 19-21.  Entitled “Incarcerated 6×9,” the immersive 60-minute performance explores the hopes, delusions and the ultimate will to survive in the loneliest, most bitter place on the planet.

“Incarcerated” is the latest work by Kularts Executive Director Alleluia Panis, who is no stranger to topics notoriously deemed socially taboo.  This is her third full-length work under her American Stories Project, which includes “Ibig — Pulse of Desire” (2009) which tackled mental instability and incest, and “She, Who Can See”  (2015), a story about the painful collision of shamanic inheritance and the modern world.

Along with Panis in the creation of “Incarcerated” are composer Rachel Lastimosa (of the indie-soul, R&B duo Dirty Boots), who wrote all original music; and filmmaker and writer Wilfred Galila.

With “Incarcerated,” Panis emphasizes the impact of displacement, incarceration and colonialism on Fil-Ams.  This creative non-fiction is set in the near future 2048, and highlights the state of humanity among Filipinos in the U.S., 150 years after the U.S. annexation of the Philippines.

The story is told through the lives of three Fil-Am inmates and their struggles to endure the American judicial system:  Ronoldo “Boying” Batongbakal (performed by hip-hop, folkloric dancer Jonathan Mercado), Ramon “Mon” Dela Santo (by martial artist, dancer and theater actor Gregory Manalo) and Jesus “Hes” Gatpala (by June Arellano of Parangal Dance Company).  Joining these three main cast members are other Bay Area professional dancers who will perform live, with an additional eight performers on video at Bindlestiff Studio’s black box theater, transporting the audience to experience the confinement of a six by nine jail cell.

“Incarcerated 6×9” will run on Friday & Saturday, May 19-20 at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, May 21 at 2:30 p.m. at the Bindlestiff Studio, 185 6th Street, San Francisco.

Advanced online tickets are available at www.kularts.org:  Early bird $13 until April 30.  Advance tickets after that are $17, $20 at the door, $30 sponsor.

“Incarcerated 6×9” is being presented by Kularts and the Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center (APICC), along with the San Francisco Arts Commission-Grants for the Arts. (AJPress)

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