A sincere account of incarceration, justice, community, and compassion, the creative process through which Patrick underwent tells a tale of an artist seeking approval, understanding, and to be heard. While Inside/Out had been an ongoing project for quite some time, originating from the journal entries Patrick kept while ‘inside’, the actor was hesitant to share his stories with a larger audience: “I was worried I would be ostracized from a community that I was starting to become a part of,” Keating shares, mentioning his reluctance towards turning his story into a live show.
20 years later, the actor found himself working with Main Street Theatre and, with encouragement from a community of artists Keating admired, the artist began to pen a performance that touched on a subject rarely discussed on a social scale in a real and meaningful way. By recording himself reliving his personal stories, Patrick began putting pen to paper, cutting and editing scenes alongside Dramaturge, Stephen Malloy.
The show was not without its challenges, and while one of the major hurdles was the opinions of others and the inclusion of certain narratives, his biggest was making sure the performance was completely authentic. “The biggest challenge was staying true to reality and not fictionalizing.”
This motivation towards sharing a true account of Keating’s life lends itself to one of the performance’s main goals: compassion and understanding. Keating’s performance aims to put a face to those serving their time, drawing the attention, without giving excuses for their crimes, to the societal issues at stake. As our world tends to look the opposite direction, placing blame on the individual, this piece questions our notions of judgments and brings the humanity back into focus. Inmates, Keating notes, also lack the previous programs that were available in order to aid in re-entering society, such as access to education. These are crucial aspects that, again, point to a social rather than individual problem. Inside/Out brings these stories and more to the stage in order to shed light and, ultimately, change our way of thinking about who inhabits our national penitentiaries.
These occupied spaces, as the show relays, build a community of their own that are the foundation for growth and understanding. Keating stresses this idea, making the concept of community and its impact on him throughout his life a focal point for the performance. “To me, community is everything. Everyone needs to feel included or needed,” Keating states, adding that facets of our society, like church choirs, theatre clubs, and even Mafia or street gangs, act as a community that protects their members. This sense of community, while at times detrimental, is what keeps us going and can, as we know, lead us towards different decisions in order to feel included. “We as humans will find people with whom we feel we have a commonality [and] I guess my story is about one person getting it very wrong and then very right.”
A story that puts community, education, and choices as its core, Inside/Out aims to change our systemic views on justice and allows us to understand the issues surrounding correcting wrongs and facing fears. As timely as ever, Patrick’s story of inclusivity, human nature, and connection has never been more relevant, and its message is one that can ignite change in the way we think, act, and feel.
Neworld Theatre’s Inside/Out runs January 17–21, 2018 at Performance Works. Presented by PuSh International Performing Arts Festival and Touchstone Theatre. Get your tickets here.
Jasmine Proctor is a writer, theatre-fanatic, and recent BA graduate from Simon Fraser University, majoring in Communications and English Literature. Jasmine is a self-proclaimed Shakespeare fangirl, part-time poet, and a not-so-secret lover of K-pop. She is thrilled to work with Artslandia and cannot wait to see what performance she can write about next.
Patrick Keating (Writer and Performer): A Graduate of Simon Fraser’s School for the Contemporary Arts Patrick has been working as an actor in Vancouver TV Film and Theatre scene for the past twenty years. Some of the companies he has worked with include the Firehall, Rumble, Mortal Coil, PI Theatre, Touchstone, Headlines, I.T.P., Urban Crawl, and Main Street Theatre, where he is proud to be an associate artist. He has been recognized with two Jessie Richardson Award Nominations. Inside/Out is Patrick’s first venture into playwriting.
Thank you to our friends at CHARALS on Robson for supporting the arts by gifting each artist in our CREATOR series a gift package, from their store, filled with luxury goods & accessories. Visit them online at charals.com or in person at 171 Robson Street in Vancouver.