"Act V"

I’d long known about This American Life’s 2002 program “Act V,” which tracks a group of Missouri inmates performing the last act of Hamlet. During my St. Louis Magazine days, I published Jeannette Cooperman’s fantastic interview with Agnes Wilcox — head of Prison Performing Arts and a key figure in the episode — and I’d seen some of Wilcox’s performers in action at the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts’ “Staging Old Masters” in 2009. But for whatever reason I’d never taken the hour to return to that original program.

I’ve now done so, prompted by This American Life’s re-airing of “Act V” this past week. What started unplanned during a 6 p.m. drive last evening continued on my iPod this morning, during a light-rain run through Glendale. It was, as most of you probably already know, a remarkable story — moving and real — exceptionally told. If you’ve also missed it over the years, I encourage you to stream or download it at the link above.