Some may remember the controversy about a previous article about Wes students and individuals at the CT Juvenile Training School working to put on plays. The article was considered problematic in some ways.
A more recent Courant article from today features a slightly different angle, and makes for an interesting read, talking about the performances of ‘The Tempest’ and ‘Waiting for Godot’:
“It’s been an interesting academic experience, but also a personal one,” said Jordyn Lexton, a senior from Manhattan majoring in English. “You walk in here the first day and they have an impression of you and you have an impression of them based on preconceived and very superficial notions of what the other is going to be like.”
By working toward a shared goal, walls began to erode as a sense of trust grew, said Lexton, who is 22 and not sure whether she’ll work as a teacher after graduation or take a job in the sports division of HBO.
Most of the juvenile offenders who participated in the program have never acted before.
“At first, I was like, ‘This is going to be boring. I’m not sure I want to be here,'” said a 16-year-old convicted robber from Hartford. Initially, he only stuck with it because it was a way to avoid a class, he said. (The state Department of Children and Families, which runs the juvenile training school, insisted on anonymity for the incarcerated youths.)
Soon, however, the 16-year-old hit his stride. “I got more into it and I wanted to stay,” he said. He especially liked improvising, “making something out of nothing.” He is due to be released in September and plans to attend public school, with the goal of joining the Marines one day, he said.