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Friday, May 23rd – Women’s prison, Santiago Chile (where the fire was in 2010)

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Back in 2010 a fire broke out that killed over 80 men. It was a tragic event that could have been avoided but the cells were so full that everything was cios. Some claim that the guards were drunk and thus could not find the right keys. It has now been transformed into a women’s prison and you could still see and smell the effects of the fire. I wrote an act we do using a song called “Alegria”, which combines clowns, magic and dance. It carries the message that if we care about others, more than ourselves, we find joy (alegria), and the answer to our own problems.

After some of our presentations the prisoners will tell us that it took them back to their childhood, reminded them of seeing a circus and thank us for giving them the gift of joy. They all laugh when in the act I take a cell phone from a clown dressed as a prisoner (my brother) and make it vanish since phones are illegal but often smuggled in. Once the guards freaked out because no phones are allowed inside, and I had to hurry up and show them it was a toy, (oops). The women were at a very high level of excitement the whole show.

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