State of Incarceration, a performance by the Los Angeles Poverty Department which examines the personal and social costs of incarceration in the U.S., will be presented at 8:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Jan. 28 and 29 at Highways Performance Space, 1651 18th St., Santa Monica.

The Los Angeles Poverty Department, a nonprofit arts organization, strives to create performance work that focuses on the lives and communities of people living in poverty.

The State of Incarceration performance explores the consequence of incarceration on people, families and communities.

Each performance of State of Incarceration is an experiment in which the performers, the audience, and the performance material are inserted into a restrictive prison environment that replicates the over-crowded California State Prisons, where gymnasiums and cafeterias have been turned into dormitories housing 300-400 prisoners, a Highways spokesman said.

The performance space is filled wall-to-wall with 60 bunk-beds, the same model used in the prison system.

In State of Incarceration, poverty department artists articulate the mental and physical challenges of incarceration and the resources needed to endure and recover from it.

State of Incarceration developed through workshops with performers who have been incarcerated and who live in Los Angeles’ Skid Row, according to the poverty department organization.

The performance is directed by John Malpede and Henri‘tte Brouwers and written/improvised by the Los Angeles Poverty Department performers.

Tickets are $20 for general admission and $15 for members, students and seniors. To purchase tickets online,, or (310) 315-1459.