Above, excerpts of James Sewell’s 2017 ballet based on Frederick Wiseman’s highly controversial 1967 documentary, Titicut Follies. For those of you not familiar with this film, it captures the horrendous and inhumane day to day lives of criminally insane patients in a Massachusetts mental facility, highlighting an annual talent show the patients put on within their dreary confinements. Nothing staged, completely raw. When I was a teen, I caught a showing of it on the local P.B.S. station in L.A. Viewing it rattled me to my core. The Sewell ballet you would have to hunt down as to whether it’s playing on a stage near you. The Frederick Wiseman documentary, after decades of it having been banned, has officially been out on dvd since 2007. A quite extraordinary undertaking? It seems like it. If you have seen this ballet, do tell.
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