Filmed in 2012, the documentary, Human Again, follows the five original members of PPTG as they train, rehearse and perform their devised theatre piece, “Maximum Will,” interweaving soliloquies from Shakespeare with original pieces written by the men. PPTG is assisted by their civilian facilitators and are followed on their journey by a group of college student filmmakers documenting the group’s efforts--intended to culminate in a performance for an invited audience of non-incarcerated people. The clips that follow are unedited, raw footage outtakes from that film.
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Discussing the origins of the Phoenix Players Theatre Group are founding member, Kenneth Brown; founder Michael Rhynes; original facilitator, Stephen Cole; founding member, Michael Shane Hale; and volunteer services director, David Roth.
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Giving insights to their lives before prison are founding members Efraim “DE” Diaz, Michael Rhynes, and Michael “Shane” Hale. Shane performs a short part of a piece he mentions about his birth and Michael and Steve discuss performing Shakespeare.
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Discussing some of her thoughts about working with PPTG in their first show, Inside/Out is former student, Juli Kleist Mendez. De, Shane and Michael share the effects PPTG has had on them. There is a brief rehearsal sequence from PPTG’s second show, Maximum Will and some comments about how Shakespeare so captures what their lives “inside” are like.
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This clip begins from the end of the piece “Shane” is rehearsing. David discusses his relationship with his brother. Juli Kliest-Mendez comments on David’s relationship to the group. During an “affirmation” each member enters the circle in the middle of the group and each member addresses the member in the center in turn. In this Circle of Affirmation, Michael addresses David.
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The clip begins with “DE” rehearsing a piece he performed in Maximum Will about his own case. He discusses his trial. Volunteer Services Coordinator, David Roth, comments on the men who are incarcerated. Michael rehearses “To Be or Not To Be” and discusses the possibility of dying in prison. Shane and De contribute to the discussion of death in prison.
THE LOST BOYS OF AUBURN
This short film is based on footage from a long documentary of the Phoenix Players Theater Group shot during preparation for Maximum Will. This short was cut by Joey Triska and James Lewis, two members of the film crew that filmed PPTG for six months and produced over seventy hours of footage. This short focuses on Shane and De and was shown as Jamie and Joey’s final project for their documentary film class.