In 2013, inmates at San Quentin prison rehearsed and performed the play THE MERCHANT OF VENICE, directed by Lesley Currier and Suraya Keating of Marin Shakespeare Company.Simultaneously, the men created a “Parallel Play” — their own autobiographical stories, inspired by the themes in THE MERCHANT OF VENICE, told through theatre, and directed by Suraya Keating. Here you can see video of their performances, and read transcripts of what they wrote.The “Parallel Play” was supported in part by a Cal Humanities Community Stories grant, which has allowed us to make this material available online.

If you would like to use these playlets in performance, please contact Lesley Currier at We hope you find this material useful, and we welcome your feedback and comments.

We would like to acknowledge the courage and talent of the men who participated in this production. These are all men who have made terrible choices at some point in their lives, who have hurt others and themselves, and who are trying now to be the best men they can be. In telling their stories, they are hoping to heal themselves and others. Shakespeare provides the perfect inspiration for looking deeply at the complexities of human motivation and the aspiration for understanding and forgiveness.

BelizeBembe Soul and Healing Ceremony (pdf)
Bembe Soul and Healing Ceremony - Belize
John NeblettFor My Father (pdf)
For My Father - Neblett
RC CapellForgiveness (pdf)
Forgiveness- Rodney Capell
Yana Self and R.G. PadgettInstitutionalized Warfare (pdf)
Institutionalized Warfare
James MaysJust Another Part of Growing UP (pdf)
Just Another Part of Growing UP - James Mays
ReeseSalt on a Bleeding Wound (pdf)
Sal on a Bleeding Wound - Reese
LaMar “Maverick” HarrisonThe Mis-Motivation of Maverick(pdf)
The Mis-Motivation of Maverick
Kimini RandallThe Testimony (pdf)
Testimony by Kimini Randall
Nythell “Nate” CollinsThey Come Free (pdf)
They Come Free Collins
Preston “Zoe” GardinerWho is Love (pdf)
Who is Love - Gardiner

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