For those of us living freely in society, prison is a difficult place to relate with. Most people know little of the lifestyle of Americans behind bars, yet the mystery must intrigue many, as prison has become a popular setting for shows like “Prison Break” and “Orange Is the New Black” in recent years.
Capitalizing on this trend, Daniel Guyton is bringing his production, “Prison Monologues, Part 1” to the first annual Classic City Fringe Festival for multiple shows on Friday and Saturday. The show was originally produced for the Atlanta Fringe Festival, which took place in June.
The performance features four women who have been accused of four different crimes, and the perspectives resulting from being locked away.
“The actresses will tell their stories about what got them in jail and how they ended up there,” Guyton said. “It is a mix of comedy and drama and tense scary moments and some really laugh-out loud-funny moments. It’s a mix of emotions.”
Since the show is ultimately a set of monologues, Guyton said the focus of the show is not maximizing production quality, but rather emphasizing the actresses and their characters’ tales.
“It’s minimalistic. It is just one woman getting up there at a time, telling her story,” Guyton said. “It is a very intimate setting, and it’s really more about the performer than the technical elements.”
Guyton said he wrote one of the four monologues years ago, but wanted to add more to the show “so it would be a full evening.” Once he finished them, he just had to search for the right actresses to portray his colorful characters.
“One of [the actresses] is my wife, so she was pretty eager to jump on board,” Guyton said. “I put a call out on Facebook and a couple of other sites looking for actresses, and it turns out I knew all three of them.”
Kate Guyton, Tanya Freeman, Jade Fernandez and Peg Thon make up the entirety of the production’s cast.
When Thon first received the script for the show, Guyton told her that it was written specifically for her, a statement that cause some confusion after she read her parts.
“Whether he was serious or not [about it being written for me], I cannot say, and I don’t know whether to be flattered by that or not,” Thon said. “Once you see the monologue, you’ll understand.”
Thon’s character, Jess, is a hardened prisoner who will be able to give some insight into the differences between living as a citizen and as an inmate.
“I can say that Jess has been in prison for over 40 years. She is pretty hardcore,” Thon said. “There are things about her life that will make you understand — she reveals them. She is pretty complex.”
The show will be performed four times during the weekend. There will be two performances on Friday, with the first at 10 p.m. at Flicker Theatre & Bar and the second at midnight at The World Famous.
On Saturday, “Prison Monologues, Part 1” can be seen at both 6 p.m. and midnight at Flicker.
Guyton said that fans of the popular Netflix show “Orange Is The New Black” will find plenty to enjoy in his production, and encourages those who are not fans to come anyway to see “a very different take on a very similar subject.”
“Each [character] has a very unusual story to tell. It should be quite titillating at times and quite scary at others, but I guarantee you’ll be entertained,” Thon said. “If nothing else, come out and see me have a shot, because after [my] monologue, I need one.”