From the playwright, Sarah Shourd:
“This play is a work of fiction. Though I am a journalist and have done years of extensive research on this topic—visiting prisoners in solitary confinement across the country, conducting dozens of interviews with formerly incarcerated people and their families, and engaging in a dozen in-depth letter correspondences over a period of two years—I created these characters and this storyline myself. The play also draws from my own experience as a political hostage. I spent 410 days in solitary confinement while imprisoned in Iran from 2009 to 2010. Like so many people around the world, I was deeply inspired by the historic California Prisoner Hunger Strike in 2011, which brought the issue of long-term solitary confinement to the world’s attention, as well as by the hunger strikers at Guantanamo Bay Detention Center and elsewhere around the world.”
“The Box is a powerful work of documentary theater, providing a glimpse into a world few Americans realize exists.”
-Monika Bauerlein, CEO of Mother Jones Magazine
Most of the dialogue is invented, but some of the writing is borrowed (with permission) from accomplished writers inside, like Billy Blake (author of A Sentence Worse than Death) and C.F. Villa (author of Life in the SHU). It’s impossible to thank everyone who contributed to this project, but I do want to acknowledge and thank those who shared their own stories and experiences of incarceration: Francisco Cacique, Rafael Cacique, Dolores Canales, Jacqueline Craig, Steven Czifra, Jerry Eisler, Rudolph Howell, Five Mualimm-ak, Brian Nelson, Raul Rocha, Alfred Sandoval, Ricky De Silva, Leon Singletery, Maher Suarez, Judith Vasquez and Caesar Villa. I also drew from writing and recordings by the late Dannie Martin and Herman Wallace of the Angola 3.