NORCO, Calif. — Fifteen men darted across the room, their faces slathered in greasepaint, reciting lines from “Tartuffe.” The stage, such as it was, was a low-ceilinged recreation room, and the cast was a troupe of felons who had just stepped in from the dusty yard of the California Rehabilitation Center.
For four hours, they conducted workshops under the direction of the Actors’ Gang, an ensemble from Los Angeles, which goaded them into acting out emotions that could be put to use in the 17th-century Molière farce about, appropriately enough, a con man working a swindle.
“Why are you angry?” Sabra Williams, the prison project director, demanded of the jostling lineup of actor-prisoners.
“They gave me too much time!” shouted one of the inmates, Ron Reiber, his face red and veins bulging…
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