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Felon: An America Washi Tale is a solo performance by Reginald Dwayne Betts that explores the experiences, memories, and consequences of incarceration through poetry, storytelling, and the art of Japanese papermaking. A Q&A moderated by AirGo will immediately follow the performance.


Performed by poet, lawyer, and MacArthur Fellow Reginald Dwayne Betts, this Washi Tale moves literally and metaphorically beyond the artist’s own life, unwrapping the disturbing ways that prison touches us all.

In Betts' words, Felon is about reimagining paper. The pages of a book being slid into a cell, stoves made of toilet paper, kites from a father, handwritten affidavits, legal complaints, certificates of pardon: the variety of papers that reveals what is possible and burdened by prison. The world of Felon is shaped by set design by Japanese paper artist Kyoko Ibe, crafted from "prison paper" that artist Ruth Lingen constructed from the clothes of men Betts first met in prison as a teenager, each of whom were still in prison during the earliest stages of this project.

Directed and developed by Elise Thoron, this story of violence, love, and fatherhood challenges us to peer out from the shadow of mass incarceration and imagine what else is possible.


Written and performed by Reginald Dwayne Betts

Directed and Developed by Elise Thoron

Set Design by Kyoko Ibe

Light Design by Jane Cox

Sound Design by Palmer Hefferan

Stage Manager: Tyler Sperrazza


7:00 PM - 8:30 PM: "Felon: An American Washi Tale” performance and Q&A moderated by AirGo

8:30 PM - 10:00 PM: Reception and Book Signing

15 Mar 2024
7:00pm - 10:00pm CDT

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