A documentary following a group of actors as they perform a play about the perils of incarceration at Sing Sing Correctional Facility in New York.
00:00Copy video clip URL Bars and tone.
00:44Copy video clip URL Fade into a shot of one of the actors mopping the floor of the stage during the production. A fellow cast member can be heard singing and playing guitar in the background.
01:53Copy video clip URL Cut to footage from inside Sing Sing Prison. The cast members are seen stepping in and out of prison cells. The cast rehearses the night before the performance. A cast member talks about the inspiration for the play. He comments on the subject of prison violence. This lasts for several minutes.
04:02Copy video clip URL A few of the cast members talk and joke with one another. One of the men jokes about having sexual relations with different pieces of fruit. The men seem to be in a rather playful mood.
05:36Copy video clip URL One of the cast members says that the writer of the play and much of the cast has spent time in Sing Sing in the past. “So ironically we’re going back to perform for the inmates.” The men continue to rehearse for the play. Another cast member talks about his time spent in the county jail. This lasts for several minutes.
07:10Copy video clip URL When asked for his thoughts on the play, one of the cast members talks about his character and his previous stint at Sing Sing. Commenting on his time at Sing Sing: “Like being among the living dead.”
07:44Copy video clip URL Fade into more footage from the play performance.
09:46Copy video clip URL Cut to footage from inside of a car before the cast enters in to the prison.
10:14Copy video clip URL Cut back to more footage from the performance. An actor playing a prison guard is seen berating two prisoners. Shortly after the exchange, we cut back to the car as videomaker Bart Friedman gathers footage of the large walls that surround the complex. Once they arrive at the entrance, the cast waits to enter into the complex. When asked for his thoughts on driving up and seeing Sing Sing, one of the actors says, “It scared the piss out of me, man.” The actors continue to wait in the parking lot.
14:13Copy video clip URL After a few minutes, the men are greeted by a prison employee who gives them the proper credentials to enter into the complex.
14:38Copy video clip URL Cut to an interview with one of the actors. He talks about leaving prison in 1967 and entering into a program called Reality House. “I didn’t want to be a professional ex-convict all my life.” He goes on to say that he had a role as the best friend of Cleavon Little in “Blazing Saddles.” The man goes on to talk about his time spent at Sing Sing in more detail.
16:23Copy video clip URL Cut back to footage from the play.
17:58Copy video clip URL The prison employee talks about the entrance procedure for the actors. We watch as the group files into the prison. Large metal door after large metal door close behind them as they venture deeper into the prison.
20:08Copy video clip URL Friedman gathers a shot of the outside grounds from within the prison walls. Dark steel bars adorn each passing window as Friedman captures the aura of the structure. An actor begins to sing and play guitar. His melodies echo through the room as one of the actors peers his head out of the window.
21:20Copy video clip URL Friedman walks by a couple of empty cells. The actors continue to sing with one another. This lasts for a few minutes.
22:33Copy video clip URL Cut back to footage of the play coming to a close. As the curtains close, one of the actors performs a song for the audience. After a few minutes, a few of the fellow actors join him on stage and begin to clap along to the music.
24:28Copy video clip URL One of the actors makes his way into a prison cell and decides to lay down for a few minutes. He goes on to talk about his time spent in jail. He had been arrested during a stint in the U.S. Army. He goes on to talk about his character in the play. We then see each cast member standing behind a cell door rehearsing for the play.
28:20Copy video clip URL Cut to more footage from the play. We see a brief shot of the viewing audience. This lasts for several minutes.
29:25Copy video clip URL Cut back to footage of the actors behind the cell doors. We quickly cut back to footage from the play.
30:17Copy video clip URL Friedman gets a circular shot of the prison cells, walls, and ceilings. Shortly afterward, we watch as one of the actors addresses the audience after the performance. The actor shares some uplifting words with the audience. Despite spending twenty-seven years of his life behind bars, he had gone on to become fairly successful. “I’m telling you what I know: that if you get your things together out there, and get your head together, and start thinking about some positive shit, you can make it out here. It’s going to be hard because nothing is easy. But I’ll tell you something man, come on outside, because the struggle is not only here. There’s a hell of another fucking struggle going on outside, and we need all you brothers out there. So come on outside.” The actors then join in song to close the show.
31:51Copy video clip URL One of the actors shares pictures with one of the audience members.
32:18Copy video clip URL Cut to the credits.
32:30Copy video clip URL End of tape.