On the Eve of Abolition

Multimedia play imagining the last day of the last prison in the U.S.

work-in-progress presentation in Dallas, TX

September 30 – October 2, 2022

Papel Machete’s multimedia performance, On the Eve of Abolition, will be presented for the first time at Cara Mía Theater in Dallas, TX for a work-in-progress performance September 30 – October 2, 2022. On the Eve of Abolition, is set in the year 2047 in the transnational liberated lands of what used to be known as the U.S. and Mexico, after a movement of abolitionists have created the conditions to end the prison-industrial complex.

Papel Machete’s On the Eve of Abolition is a work-in-progress and a recipient of the National Performance Network’s Creation Fund and is co-commissioned by Pregones/PRTT (Bronx, NY), Cara Mía Theatre (Dallas, TX), and Movimiento de Arte y Cultura Latino Americana (MACLA; San Jose, CA).


On the Eve of Abolition is an original, bilingual (Spanish-English), multimedia, and mask/puppet theater performance by Papel Machete. The story is about the last day of the last prison in transnational liberated lands of what used to be known as the U.S. and Mexico after a movement of abolitionists have created the conditions to end the prison industrial complex. The play is set in 2047 and imagines abolition camps, formerly incarcerated people, families, and organizers outside of the prisons, and from within, prisoners organized in this final moment to end all prisons.


We will use rod and table puppets, masks, shadow puppet theater, projection, cantastoria (picture storytelling), and spatial sound to create an immersive experience for the audience. The play is a radical imaginary sci-fi story based on current conditions in the US and Puerto Rico. The project will be developed and performed by artists and collaborators of AgitArte and Papel Machete. 


As cultural workers and organizers, we understand that our work is and must always be tied to grassroots efforts for abolition and liberation. For this reason, community engagement is a vital part of this project. Through direct engagement and collaboration with currently and formerly incarcerated people, families and communities impacted by the carceral state, and abolitionist organizers, we will collectively imagine and construct the On the Eve of Abolition story, while simultaneously supporting ongoing struggles for abolition in the U.S. Our community partners include: Southerners On New Ground (SONG), a people of color-led Queer liberation and prison abolition organization in the regional South; Sisters Unchained, a Boston-based organization that supports “women and non-gender conforming people of color who are impacted by incarceration;” and Prison Radio, an independent multimedia production studio fighting for the release of all political prisoners and the abolition of prisons.


A major component of this project is community engagement with abolitionist organizations, and currently and formerly incarcerated people and their families. Our mandate for this project is to create a vision of an abolitionist future and then offer pathways to engage in real-time organizing toward the abolition of the prison industrial complex and the creation of transformative, community-led processes that address harm. We do this with our community partners, most of whom we’ve been building with for many years, and through direct communication with survivors of the prison system.

cultural workers

Jorge Díaz Ortiz


Sugeily Rodríguez Lebrón

The Storyteller

Deborah Hunt

The Warden