From our work in Los Angeles’s prisons and skid row we have developed Macbeth: A Tale of the Conqueror and the Conquered! This original take on the classic tale of Macbeth hopes to build bridges between people from diverse backgrounds. The production uses visual theater techniques such as shadow, theater, animation and puppetry to tell this tale and make its message accessible for any audience despite language barriers.
The Destiny Is The Journey” was an original play created by actors from the Los Angeles Mission and Los Angeles City College through the Break it To Make it Program. The play takes you on a voyage through the eyes of a troubled soldier who journeys through the desert and jungle after a fierce battle in order to meet the man in the mountains who can set him free. Thanks to all those that came out to the show and participated in the production!
Free Yo’ Mind was part of The Break it to Make It program’s “Freedom Festival” at Los Angeles City College. The actors were participants of workshops with The Los Angeles Mission. All of the actors who participated in the production received two transferable college credits. The play was about people who are striving to overcome their trials and tribulations by using the advice and wisdom of Martin Luther King’s “What Is In Your Life’s Blueprint” speech to help them find their way to a brighter and more just future.
Fathers and Sons was performed on the B yard in California State Prison of Los Angeles County in March of 2017. The play consisted of original and scripted material dealing with the relationships between fathers and sons. The Family of our students who were incarcerated were allowed to have their family members attend the performances.
“California Dreaming” was part of Strindberg Laboratory’s “Demonstration project” through California Arts Council’s “Prison Project” with people who are about to be released back into society. The play was formed from the dreams of our students about their family, relationships and their desire for a positive change. The play’s story centers on a lost soul who winds up in a magical train station where he is whisked away by a wise man who shows him how to build a better future through songs, scenes, dance, and poetry.
This project was part of our California Arts Council Prison Project and a two transferable college credit class!!
“The Birds” is an adapation of Aristophanes “The Birds” written 2500 years ago. “The Birds” is an anarchic, musical satire about finding freedom, getting back one’s faith and self confidence and most of all how absolute power corrupts absolutely. This adaptation through original raps and songs brings a vision of what could happen if people from the fringes of society take over and come into power!
The Strindberg Laboratory brings you an original play, Hustlin. Developed at Skid Row, the play consists of 8 scenes based on real life experiences of the actors with freestyle raps connecting all of the scenes to produce an entertaining and enlightening audience experience. The audience gets a close-up look at the the ups and downs of hustlers, pimps, prostitutes, corrupt ministers and ex-cons trying to survive in a world where the game is stacked against them.
We are currently raising funds to complete a documentary about the making of Hustlin titled Hustin: Take 2 on Life.
The play was written and performed by persons with one to two year release dates in the B yard in California State Prison of Los Angeles County. The play was about their dreams and fears for the future and consists of eight original scenes with raps, songs and poems. The scenes ask the question; Can I dream big enough to change my life and am I able to conquer my fears and fulfill my dreams?
Directed by Meri Pakarinen and Michael Bierman
Daroca’s Curious Journey
Directed by Meri Pakarinen assisted by Christopher Simpson and Henry Nunez
“Daroca’s Curious Journey” was a fantastical play about a circus troupe’s madness when they arrive at a magical bus stop. The play is half an hour and features original stories,dances, songs and plenty of mayhem! This show had formally incarcerated persons working with autistic young adults. Normally people who have been incarcerated could not get this job because of background checks. This show also brought together rich and poor areas of Los Angeles.
The people from the jails to jobs program took our class inside correctional facilities and continued with us in this production. The show was supported with financial support from County Board of Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, Councilman Paul Koretz, The Strindberg Laboratory “Jails to Jobs Program” and FACT.
Murder Mystery Mayhem & Most Talented
A recent TSL workshop for F.A.C.T. culminated in a production in February 2018, called “Murder Mystery Mayhem & Most Talented.” In a series of short pieces created by the participants that spanned a love murder mystery to making it in Hollywood, the common theme was breaking down stereotypical stigmas, which has great resonance in the lives of our participants.
Toons Gone Rogue
Toons Gone Rogue was a variety show for the holidays, created from Strindberg Laboratory’s theater workshops with F.A.C.T. Family. Our amazing cast celebrated all things Disney in this wild variety show that comes from the imaginations of our actors.
Redemption In Our State of Blues was written and performed by the drama class from the B-yard at the California State Prison in Lancaster. The play was about redemption, love, community and hope. It consists of eleven original scenes with raps, songs and poems. The stories ask the question; “Are there second chances?” and “How do you grasp them in time with life’s challenges?”
Storytelling & Improvisation Workshops
Here is a video documentation of our theater classes that we conducted online with students from The Los Angeles Mission. We conducted a series of 15, two hour sessions, at the LA Mission between August 25th and November 19th 2020. The class was then halted due to the pandemic. Thanks so much for everyone who participated and helped to make these workshops possible!
Through The Strindberg Laboratory’s theater workshops with the Los Angeles Mission we have created scenes that are all about celebrating the togetherness of the holiday season. The scenes show how with the right spirit unlikely persons can connect despite all odds to make their lives and the world a better place.
Another Jails to Jobs production with our BITMI partners at the Los Angeles Mission about people who have faced adversity in their lives trying to seek help and be saved. The play captured the diversity and hope of people who have faced the impossible and their desire to turn their lives around.
Miracle in Skid Row
Through The Strindberg Laboratory’s theater workshops with the Los Angeles Mission we have created scenes that are all about Christmas. The scenes show the holiday spirit between sons, fathers, grandfather’s and friends. These stories are touching and funny and come from the imaginations of the actors from the program.Here is a video about this workshop that shows the importance of the program for both the actors and those who came to see it.
Meri Pakarinen co founder and artistic director of the Strindberg Laboratory began the theater company in 2011 with the production of Miss Julie that was performed in Helsinki Finland. In the subsequent years original one person shows about famous artists like Helene Schjerfbeck, Elli Tompuri, Jane Avril, Toulouse Lautrec and Vincent Van Gogh were created and performed in the United States and Finland. View some of our videos and pictures from some of our older productions!!