5863 is more than a number

5863 – a play. What if you became just a number?

There’s a new show in North Hollywood called “5863” written and performed by Rudi Stroebel now playing through May 17 at The Eclectic Company Theatre. These simple numbers are what a person becomes once in the system, the number that the penal system has assigned to the character that Stroebel portrays. Multiple cases of prisoners’ cases being re-opened when evidence emerges of their innocence makes “5863” timely. “5863” examines what can happen to an individual when the established system of justice fails him.

The story is as follows: A convict in a solitary cell has been reduced to a number, 5863, his former identity erased. He’s lost his name, his woman, his son, his job, his home. All he has left to him is incarceration (and much worse) for life. He swears he did not commit that particularly heinous crime for which he has been convicted. He is certain of his innocence in that regard. Now that he has lost the treasures of love and family, is there any possible redemption left for him? Rudi Stroebel is the writer/performer. Educated in South Africa, he has been a familiar presence on television in South Africa, the UK and in Europe. “5863” marks his Los Angeles stage debut.

5863 play www.nohoartsdistrict.com

Why did he decide to write a piece on a failed justice system?

The concept for ‘5863’ deals with regret and ultimately forgiveness. After doing research on the criminal justice systems globally, I stumbled upon several letters from inmates, both guilty and not, addressing the conditions in prisons. Rape and violence were most mentioned, and these letters played a huge part in the writing of “5863.”

Does the play have something to do with his South African roots?

No it doesn’t particularly. The inhumane conditions of these prisons, in particular the solitary confinement cells, are a global problem.

Why is this show timely?

The piece is timely because, like all of us, this character lost track of what was important in his life. He worked all the time, spending most of his time on his computer or cellphone and didn’t pay enough attention to his family. After his incarceration these are things he regretted the most. His identity was stripped from him, and the play deals with his regret and ultimately self forgiveness, reclaiming his identity.

Is there any significance in the number he chose for the play’s title?

No significance in the number, other than it being the number he was allocated in prison that subsequently became what he was called by the guards.

Tell us a bit more about yourself.

I’ve got an acting and film making degree from AFDA Cape Town (BA Live Performance). I’ve done around 40 commercials, including Ferrero Rocher (Germany, Italy, France) and J. C. le Roux- Cork (currently running in SA). After film school I produced and presented content for my blog, Rudi Say What?, interviewing around 80 celebrities over three years on the red carpet and at SA’s biggest theatre festival. I’m also a private cook (not chef) catering for small dinner parties on location. I’ve been reviewing restaurants, events and art exhibitions for Rudi Say What? for four years and has done some guest writing gigs on the very well supported HSSS.com.

I have been modeling since high school, and most recently did a spread for Thoki Tafeni (featured at Seattle Fashion Week 2015).

What’s coming up for Rudi? Being newly wed and currently residing in L.A. I’m looking into continue my presenting career. I’ll be covering the story of Thoki Tafeni, the only foreigner invited to showcase her collection, at Seattle Fashion Week. I’m meeting with agents, managers and network execs to promote myself as a brand. I already have another theatre project in the pipeline where I’ll be collaborating with a British playwright and a hugely talented French director.

You can follow Rudi Stroebel here:

Instagram: @rudistroebel  |  Twitter  |  Facebook  |  The Rudi Say What? Facebook page

“5863.” Written and performed by Rudi Stroebel. Directed by Angela Grillo and Dominique Sire. Produced by Grillo and Stroebel for The Eclectic Company Theatre. Now playing through May 17 at The Eclectic Company Theatre, 5312 Laurel Canyon Blvd. (between Chandler and Magnolia), Valley Village, CA 91607. Thurs,.- Sat. at 8:00, Sun. at 7:00. Admission: $18. Pay What You Can on April 30 and May 10. Reservations: (818) 508-3003. Online ticketing: www.eclecticcompanytheatre.org

**** For information on Los Angeles theatre, tickets to theatre in North Hollywood’s NoHo Arts District, theatre reviews, the NoHo Event Calendar, restaurants, news and local businesses in NoHo, or anything and everything about the NoHo Arts Community, bookmark nohoartsdistrict.com. Follow us on Twitter @OfficialNoHo.