While she was a graduate student at the University of Montana’s College of the Arts and Media, Elli Caterisano had a powerful idea and she put it into action. She interned with actor and director Leah Joki in a maximum-security prison in California, which inspired her to start a pilot theater project at a pre-release center in Montana. The result is “The DUI Project,” which will be staged only once.
“The DUI Project” is a staged reading of scenes written by 19 inmates in the Warm Springs Addiction Treatment and Change Program (WATCh) under the auspices of Community Correctional and Counseling Services. Inmates of the WATCh program, who have had multiple DUI offenses, participated in a 10-week program guided by Joki, director of No Joke Theater.
This performance is free and open to all, but audiences should be aware that the 90-minute event contains adult themes, including strong language, and references violence, suicide and death. “What makes this project particularly special to me is that theater has given these men a platform and second chance,” Caterisano said. “They get to tell their stories. Some even took the opportunity to apologize for what they had done and express their hopes for the future.” Montana ranks third in per-capita DUIs and has triple the national average in deaths and arrest rates.
The readings will be done by UM students, recent graduates and community actors, followed by a Q&A session.
UM Masquer Theatre, PARTV Center
32 Campus Dr.Missoula, MT