Original multimedia production about incarceration and re-entry
Creative Action Unlimited, a Capital Region theater/film production company dedicated to creating original work about social issues, announces the world premiere of “Release” at the Meader Little Theater on the campus of Russell Sage College in Troy, N.Y., with performances running May 5-13, 2023.
An original multimedia production about incarceration and re-entry from the perspectives of recently incarcerated individuals and those who love them, the inspiration for “Release” came from “Coach” Alisa Smedley, who grew up in a family where her father, uncles and others were incarcerated. Smedley later worked as the coordinator for the American Job Center inside the Montgomery County Correctional Facility in Maryland and is now a conference speaker and subject matter expert in the field.
Shortly after relocating to the Capital Region, Smedley attended a showing of “The Climb,” an original film about systemic racism directed by Creative Action Unlimited artistic director Michael Kennedy. Getting the sense that Kennedy could tell her story well, Smedley reached out to discuss her plan of building a support network for individuals in the process of re-entry and their families. She asked Kennedy to work with her to develop materials that would help recently incarcerated individuals and their family members have more empathy for one another.
Kennedy got to work, conducting a series of interviews with people whose lives have been affected by incarceration, including Kardell Sims, a formerly incarcerated individual who now works as a re-entry specialist and is the author of the independently published “Inmate to Inspiration: How I Freed Myself from Self-destruction.” Kennedy also interviewed family members of incarcerated individuals, who shared their personal impact stories.
Those interviews served as the raw material from which “Release,” co-directed by Kennedy and Stephanie Remmert, was created. The production features multimedia elements and the talents of six regional actors. Cast member Eleah Jayne Peal, a frequent collaborator with Creative Action Unlimited, said she is “very excited to be part of this important piece of theatre, and to share and develop stories to give a voice to this systemically vulnerable population and their loved ones.”
CAST AND CREW: “Release” is co-directed by Michael Kennedy and Stephanie Remmert, and features an ensemble cast including Rachel Jenack, Michael A. Lake, Aaron Moore, Eleah Jayne Peal, Dalina Quiñones and Shane Sczepankowski.
PERFORMANCES: “Release” will be performed on stage at the Meader Little Theater, Russell Sage College, 65 1st St., Troy, N.Y., for two consecutive weekends: May 5-6 and 12-13 at 7:30 pm each evening and an additional 2:00 pm matinee on 5/6 and 5/13. Tickets are $15/$12 (students/seniors) and may be purchased online in advance at https://tinyurl.com/CAUrelease or at the door the night of the event. https://creativeactionunlimited.com/