Cornell Alston is a theater performer, and a long-time member and community outreach coordinator of Rehabilitation Through the Arts, a non-profit organization that uses the arts as a springboard to teach life skills to people inside and outside of state correctional facilities. With over 20 years working as a theater artist, Alston brings his experience working with incarcerated youth to help give them an outlet to creative expression. Alston collaborates with Kaneza Schaal on works like Please, Bury Me, performed at the Baryshnikov Arts Center and Go Forth that they produced during a Performance Space 122 RAMP residency. Other highlights of his performing career have included One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, 12 Angry Men, and playing the title role in August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.
From the Journal
Kaneza Schaal is a New York City-based theater artist invested in research-based processes.Artist Bio
Cornell Alston is a theater performer, and a long-time member, and community outreach coordinator of Rehabilitation Through the Arts, a non-profit organization that uses the arts as a springboard to teach life skills to people inside and outside of state correctional facilities.Artist Bio
JACK & is a multimedia comedy of errors. Using the writings of Psychiatrist R.D. Laing, JACK & is a duet for two actors ensnared in dialogue exchanges that become mental tongue twisters, and draws on infamous comedy duos with artists such as Buster Keaton, Elaine May, and Flip Wilson. A performance of social codes, the production is structured around social trainings from prison re-entry programs to debutante balls. From truth & reconciliation commissions, to the USA prison crisis, to questions of immigration and migration, the twenty first century has demanded and provided new models for how to train and un-train humans to successfully co-exist. JACK & entertains the impasses, whirlpools, and complexities of this training. Schaal and Alston’s mutual commitment to experimentation in theater brought them to their second long-term collaboration. Previous research considered the performance demands of being in prison, how these languages are stored in the body, and their effect on re-entry to society. JACK & will be developed through workshops with people who used the arts while in prison.
Kaneza Schaal is a New York City based theater artist. Her recent work JACK & showed in BAM’s 2018 Next Wave Festival, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, and with its co-commissioners Walker Arts Center, REDCAT, On The Boards, Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center, and Portland Institute for Contemporary Art. Schaal received a 2019 United States Artists Fellowship, 2018 Ford Foundation Art For Justice Bearing Witness Award, 2017 MAP Fund Award, and was an Aetna New Voices Fellow at Hartford Stage. Her last project, Go Forth, premiered at Performance Space 122 and then showed at the Genocide Memorial Amphitheater in Kigali, Rwanda; Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans; Cairo International Contemporary Theater Festival in Egypt; and at her alma mater Wesleyan University, CT. Schaal’s piece Cartography premiered at The Kennedy Center in January 2019 and was workshopped through New Victory Theater Lab and NYU Abu Dhabi. Most recently, she directed Bryce Dessner’s Triptych (Eyes of One on Another), which premiered at LA Philharmonic, The Power Center in Ann Arbor, MI, and will show at BAM Opera House and Holland Festival. Her work has also been supported by Baryshnikov Arts Center, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Nathan Cummings Foundation, Foundation for Contemporary Arts, Theater Communications Group, and a Princess Grace George C. Wolfe Award. Her work with The Wooster Group, Elevator Repair Service, Richard Maxwell/New York City Players, Claude Wampler, Jim Findlay, and Dean Moss has brought her to venues including Centre Pompidou, Royal Lyceum Theater Edinburgh, The Whitney Museum, and MoMA.