Tim Robbins is in prison, but don’t worry, he’s not walking in the footsteps of his infamous Shawshank Redemption character. This time, he is working with the group he founded in 1981 and funds himself, called the Actor’s Gang. He teaches acting to prison inmates as a way to help rehabilitate them. CBS News’ Serena Altschul joined him in a Norca, California medium security prison to see what it’s all about. See the interview here!
When asked how he would respond to those who say prison isn’t about having a good time, he stated, “It’s not a good time. It’s tough work they’re doing. It’s physically demanding, it requires discipline. We want full commitment from them. What we’re asking them to do they haven’t been asked to do before. It takes a lot of courage. They’re actually putting on makeup and putting on costumes. It creates this place, particularly important in prison, where people can step outside of what’s expected of them and try to explore new emotions, create new realities, create new truths for themselves.”
Tim Robbins’ first experience of prison was playing Andy Dufresne in the 1994 film “The Shawshank Redemption.”
“I spent some time in solitary, to prepare for ‘Shawshank.’ I asked to be locked up. It gives you a good idea of what the isolation is, and what the loneliness of it is.”
“I never thought I’d be happy to tell another man I put makeup on!” said prisoner Yousef, who told Altschul preparing for a performance was liberating.”You can always say ‘ We’re acting, that’s not really me.’ But the truth is, this is us. We’re not all bad people.”
“A lot of people are afraid to show they could be sad, or they could be happy,” said another inmate, Yoshi. “They gotta have this mad mug all the time.”
Robbins recalled one inmate telling him, “I didn’t realize ’til I took this class that I’ve been wearing a mask on the yard for the last eight years.”
image via IMDb