5 Chilling Facts About Riding the Midnight Express Star Billy Hayes’ Time in a Turkish Prison

October 20th, 2014 by

5 Chilling Facts About Riding the Midnight Express Star B...

Billy Hayes is back off-Broadway at the Barrow Street Theatre telling his story in the gripping solo play Riding the Midnight Express with Billy Hayes. The show charts Billy’s incredible real-life adventure in a Turkish prison, his harrowing escape and then seeing his story turned into the Oscar-winning 1978 film Midnight Express.

October marks the 39-year-anniversary of Hayes’ escape, and BroadwayBox caught up with the writer/ actor for an even deeper look into his time in the Turkish prison.

1. The first time you learn that a rat will run if you chase it, but if cornered it will leap straight into your face...


2. The first time you get a toothache and sit in the cracked leather chair while the old wheezened Armenian dentist, who comes in from the Outside, sets up his electric drill and arranges the foot pedal used to power it, since our electric is too uncertain, and he cranks the pedal a few times with his foot, producing a high pitched grinding sound that he seems to approve of as he leans down into your face...

Dentist GIF

3. The cholera epidemic that sweeps over Istanbul and the prison riot that follows, protesting our lack of vaccinations, then when they finally come to vaccinate they're using the same needle on everyone and the sick prison junkie is in line before you so you have to choose quick between hepatitis or cholera?


4. The first time you wake from a dream about freedom and aren't bummed out to find you're still in jail, because prison has become reality, the Outside world a dream, and you've truly become a prisoner...

Riding the Midnight Express- Billy Hayes

5. In the basement of Bakiroy hospital, section 13 for the Criminally Insane, where madness was visible in the air between their eyes and clung to your skin like a cold mist...

One Flew Over the Nest GIF

‘Riding the Midnight Express with Billy Hayes’ continues at off-Broadway’s Barrow Street Theatre.