I was already doing passion plays, and had contacted Jeremy to look at the possibility of working together. As we talked, I was inspired by the radical approach he had and that challenged me to take more risks in my work. I was then asked to go into Angola prison in Louisiana to do a project and, inspired by Jeremy, took the risk! Doing that project encouraged me to then go on and work in favelas and prisons in Brazil, return to Angola, and just recently, work with prisoners in Italy’s largest prison in Milan.
Seeing what he’s done, what’s possible, and the impact that can have on someone through the process, not necessarily the end product, has encouraged me to look at that in all my work with Cutting Edge Theatre. The guys in Angola feel that their life is over because they will never leave the prison, but I tell them that they are still world changers – Jeremy changed my life; so I worked with them; they changed my life, and I go on to change other people’s lives through this work – so their impact is worldwide.
I’ve not done anything as crazy as Jeremy has – I’ve never had a gun held to my head – but he’s inspired me to go way beyond my comfort zone…working in edgy, volatile circumstances, in different languages and cultures. Working with prisoners in the infamous Angola jail in Louisana was a such a powerful experience, knowing that most of the cast, who had life sentences, would never be released. If you watch the footage, you can see in their faces and bodies what it meant to them, and it’s an experience that will go with me into all of my work: click here
Suzanne Lofthus, Cutting Edge Theatre