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through our looking glass
Missouri Eastern Correctional Center (MECC)
Pacific, MO
spring 2018


In the classic children’s book, young Alice trips down a rabbit hole, then through a looking glass - traveling into a new and strange land where often, nothing makes sense - she must learn to creatively and effectively negotiate an often-disorienting alternate reality.  From the stories of her travel to an unfamiliar world, the men of the Theatre Ensemble Missouri Eastern Correctional Center investigate this powerful metaphor to inspire their own poetry, and performance.  This collection of original writings will articulate their perceptions of entering the unknown and the challenging worlds of prison, rehabilitation, and re-entry. 


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“I always have and always will have a place in my heart for them.”

“I never thought about: bad food in prison; the loneliness in prison; how freeing it seems for the men to express emotions.”

“Creativity occurs behind closed doors and perpetuates everywhere.”

“I observed the will to act even if not trained actors. A willingness to take personal risks.”

“It reminded me that these men are human, not a DOC #.”

“Such a beautiful program that brings out the best in the performers and the audience.”

“Strong, professional performance. I am very impressed.”

“Very much improved my view and hope for them and the world.'“

“It made me realize the education level/level of intellect is impressive.”

“Didn’t know loneliness was such a persistent theme.”

“The level of metaphorical articulation was superb.”

“I was reminded that we are all part of the human race. We all have experiences, dreams & feelings.”

“Made me more aware of the lack of educational opportunities and the resources being provided to help participants fulfill educational goals. This is a huge component of preventing recidivism.”

“Folks from different backgrounds, groups, ethnicities, etc. work so well together. Their combined experiences were so touching.”

“Inspired to do more creatively for myself & the community. Continuing to fight for criminal justice.”

“Everyone has their own story. They are all amazing, determined individuals.”

“I believe in ALL of them. Everybody should have multiple changes. All these guys have the biggest hearts. Much love. Dusty Augusta we love you, and want you home. Humans make mistakes and that is all you did. We <3 you.”

“It is difficult to think that so many people require help. This ensemble has shown me that togetherness and community are real important.”

“This was spectacular. Thank you.”

“My daughter has been incarcerated in federal BOP for 15 years. She is returning to DC in one month this is a great way to celebrate!”

“This was my second performance to attend. I was just as impressed as I was with Julius Caesar. You guys are beyond impressive. Best of luck to you.”

“Very proud of my son and the other inmates.”

“Thank you for opening or eyes to some true real life experiences not all of us go through. Thank you for the awareness and the change you did & will continue to do.”

“It was nice to get some insight into their aspirations, feelings, and senses of humor in a passionate way.”

“I appreciated the "reception line" opportunity to meet the men.”

“You have reminded me of the power of theater. Thank you.”

“Today was my first time every visiting a PPA performances. I really enjoy these performances. Keep up the good work fellas.”

“This performance exceeded all expectations. The actors incorporated all emotions including laughter. Sadness, anger, happiness. Very impressed.”

“Thank you for offering this program to my son. This gives me hope and encouragement going through this difficulty time and the anxiety of separation. He is so proud of the play and so am I. Again, thank you for doing this for our family and friends.”