Premiere of "Recycling Pain", A Play by Ron Jenkins - Free Reading at Wesleyan University on September 28

Premiere of "Recycling Pain", A Play by Ron Jenkins - Free Reading at Wesleyan University on September 28

Wesleyan University's Center for the Arts presents
Premiere of "Recycling Pain", A Play by Ron Jenkins
Free Reading on Wednesday September 28

Middletown, Conn.— Wesleyan University's Center for the Arts will premiere Recycling Pain, a play by Professor of Theater Ronald Jenkins, on Wednesday, September 28, 2011 at 7pm in CFA Hall, located on the Wesleyan campus in Middletown. The play will be performed by Saundra Duncan, Lynda Gardner, and Deborah Ranger, three formerly incarcerated women who worked on the project with Mr. Jenkins when they were still imprisoned. The reading will include music by Ala Faller, and will be followed by a question and answer period at the end of the performance that will include an environmental lawyer and a prison rights advocate. Admission to the reading is free and open to the public.
Recycling Pain is based on Mr. Jenkins’s work over the past four years, including interviews with incarcerated men and women in Italy, Indonesia and the United States who were inspired by the poetry of Dante’s Divine Comedy to reflect on the consequences of wasting energy. Their observations are reminders that the importance of conserving and recycling the human resources in our jails is no less important than the challenge of conserving and recycling the natural resources of the planet. Recycling Pain was also compiled from the Department of Justice Report on the Federal Prison Industry's electronic recycling program.
Mr. Jenkin’s goal of the project is to challenge stereotypes about incarcerated individuals, the criminal justice system and Dante's poem, which is not just about suffering in the Inferno, but is a story about a journey out of hell to heaven, a path that many incarcerated individuals are struggling to undertake themselves.

One Italian participatant described his experience in the program as follows:

“People who leave prison are encapsulated in a shell of anger and have thousands of reasons for taking revenge for everything that they have suffered, but theater helps you to break out of that crust of revenge, to break free of that anger in a way that enables you to have a more positive relation with people and society. Inside prison I had the experience of transformation in the theater that prepared me for the kind of transformation I had to make when I left prison.”

Recycling Pain is being presented in memory of Deb Czarneski.

Mr. Jenkins was commissioned by the Center for the Arts to write Recycling Pain based on his work in connection with the annual environmental awareness program Feet to the Fire, and this year's theme of Fueling the Future. The work was written with the support of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s Creative Campus Initiative grant to the Center for the Arts at Wesleyan University, and written in residence at the Rockefeller Foundation Center in Bellagio, Italy.

For more information about Ronald Jenkins, please visit

About Feet to the Fire
Launched in 2008, Feet to the Fire is a major undertaking on Wesleyan’s campus to examine critical environmental issues through multiple lenses, from science to art.  The program is dedicated to the proposition that a multidisciplinary examination that includes art will provide a more comprehensive and deeper understanding of these global issues. Feet to the Fire includes lectures, performances, co-taught teaching modules, and courses by the faculty, visiting artists and lecturers, student run fora, community eco-arts festivals, afterschool programs for children, and the First Year Matters program. Each year, the campus adopts an environmental theme for its First Year Matters program, such as global climate change (2008), water (2009), or hunger (2010). The theme for 2011, Fueling the Future, is focused on issues related to energy.

Past Feet to the Fire works have included exhibitions and performances by visiting artists including Asphalt Orchestra's Trading Futures, Marion Belanger's Landfill, Ann Carlson's Green Movement, Barbara Croall's Messages (Mijidwewinan), Cassie Meador's Drift, and Stan's Cafe's Of All the People in All the World, USA (The Rice Show); as well as works by faculty including Hari Krishnan's Liquid Shakti, Ronald Kuivila's The Weather, at Six, Alvin Lucier's Glacier, and Nicole Stanton and Gina Ulysse's Threshold Sites: Skin to Skin.

The Feet to the Fire initiative was launched with a leadership grant from Arts Presenters Creative Campus Innovations Program, a component of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, which was one of only eight grants given to challenge campus-based performing arts presenters to integrate their programs more organically within the academic environment. Feet to the Fire is made possible in part by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

For more information about Feet to the Fire, please visit

For more information about First Year Matters, please visit