"Come Away to Prison"

This is a story about a group of prisoners who staged a production of Shakespeare's "King Lear" while behind bars. Jonathan Shailor rehearses a scene with the 17 inmates of the Muddy Flower Theatre Troupe at Racine Correctional Institution. Shailor, who has taught classes at RCI geared toward personal and social development for the last 10 years, has expanded the Theatre of Empowerment into a production of “King Lear.”

David “Fly” Williams tries to remember a line as the 17 inmates of the Muddy Flower Theatre Troupe at Racine Correctional Institution rehearse for their production of “King Lear.”

Matthew Dickinson reads through his lines in his cell. Dickinson, who is playing The Earl of Kent, is one of 17 inmates who dubbed themselves the Muddy Flower Theatre Troupe to stage a production of Shakespeare’s “King Lear” at Racine Correctional Institution.

Robert Aker, Sr., writes a line on his hand. Aker, who is playing The Duke of Cornwall in the Muddy Flower Theatre Troupe’s production of “King Lear” at Racine Correctional Institution, was using the note to help him remember two similar lines that he was having trouble with.

Donald Hurlbut, who plays the Earl of Gloucester, jokes around with one of the fake eyes during a rehearsal for their final performance. The eyes are used for the scene where Gloucester’s eyes are plucked out by the Duke of Cornwall.

The Duke of Cornwall, played by Robert Aker, Sr., plucks out the eyes of the Earl of Gloucester, played by Donald Hurlbut, during rehearsal.

Troupe members Travail Walls, Steven Miller and Matthew Dickinson react to a scene during the group’s final rehearsal of “King Lear.” This was the group’s first look at the scene with the fake eyes and blood due to prison rules stating they could only have the gory props during the actual day of performance.

Steven Miller, who plays Cordelia, shaves his legs to add a bit more realism to his performance in “King Lear.”

Sue Brzezinski makes her way through the metal detector as she enters the Racine Correctional Institution to watch her husband, Keith, play Reagan in the Muddy Flower Theatre Troupe's performance of “King Lear.” A makeshift sign outside the door said: "No Visits Today. King Lear production in the visitor’s room."

Haisan Williams prays before the start of the second performance of King Lear at Racine Correctional Institution.

Light streams through the prison bars, silhouetting Travail Walls, who plays Edmund, a villain. Walls says that he was once a villain in real life, but has been trying to rise above his past.

Inmates watch Edgar, played by Jermaine Cameron, as he checks on his father, the Earl of Gloucester, played by Donald Hurlbut, during the Muddy Flower Theatre Troupe's second performance of “King Lear.”

Tom O’Beblam, played by Jermaine Cameron, King Lear, played by Jonathan Shailor, and The Fool, played by Megale Taylor, make their way through the elements during a performance.

Robert Aker, Sr., and Travail Walls hug after the opening-night performance.

Jean Thieme, the education director at Racine Correctional Institution, takes a photograph of the cast of “King Lear” after they finished the second of two performances for their fellow inmates.