Shawshank Redemption at Future Cinema

BATD ON Jan 31, 2013 AT 11:58 am

by Gemma Phelan

Last night I was honoured to have been invited to the Future Cinema performance of Shawshank Redemption.  It was quite possibly one of the best immersive cinema experiences I’ve ever encountered.

The 6 hour production was played out across two authentically themed locations. The Oakhampton Court House (The Bethnal Green Library) and the Shawshank State Prison (the Cardinal Pole Lower School in Victoria Park Road).

The remarkably realistic pre-screening panoply began at the courtroom where we were sentenced, quite unceremoniously, by an abrasive trial judge. We were then bundled into a 1940’s bus with carpeted walls and a crooked guard who offered us a shot of Jager for the road.

Shawshank Redemption at Future Cinema

On arrival at the prison our orders were spat at us to strip down and change into our uniforms. From here on in we had free roam of the prison and getting hold of contraband (alcohol) became our sole mission. Peering into what seemed to be a disused cell, I spotted a group of inmates huddled round the far-side bunk bed. I entered and covertly exchanged a couple of notches on by library card for a bottle of beer. Score.

Exploring the three story penitentiary I stumbled upon a canteen, a library, a hospital ward and an activity room where we had the opportunity to make candles or draw pictures for stamps of ‘good behaviour’ on our parole cards.

After a prison wide rendition of ‘The Brewing of Soma’ emotions were running high, the whole audience was totally enrolled in the narrative.  At this point we were herded into the school gym to watch the feature film.

For those who haven’t seen the movie, Shawshank Redemption is a prison drama based on a story by Stephen King, that follows the story of ‘Andy Dufresne’ (Tim Robbins), a banker who is wrongly convicted of his wife’s and her lover’s murder.  Andy forges a powerful friendship with inmate, ‘Red’, a contraband smugger also condemned to life imprisonment.  Andy uses his banking skills to help prison guards with their accounts, simultaneously winning favour and protection on the inside for himself, Red and the other members of their gang. The film tells the story of their years spent together in the corrupt Shawshank State Penitentiary.

Future Cinema’s accurate depiction of this corruption and the hardships of Shawshank prison life were impressive to say the least.  The surroundings, shocking scenes of violence, callous prison wardens and foul-mouthed fellow inmates conspire to make the whole production one to be remembered for a long time to come.

Shows will be running until 24th Feb 2013. Make sure you’re there by purchasing a ticket here

Also, just announced Future Cinema presents Casablanca at The Troxy; dates available from Valentine’s Day. Follow Future Cinema on Facebook for upcoming dates and booking information.

@gemmaphelan

 

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