A Play About Solitary Confinement

The Box

July 6-30 on Z Space Main Stage

Directed by Michael John Garcés
Written by Sarah Shourd

What happens when you have nothing left to lose?

In 2009, journalist and playwright Sarah Shourd was living in the Middle East when she went on a hike with her fiancée and a friend. Little did she know it, but her life would never be the same. While pursuing what they were told were fantastic views over a nearby ridge, they suddenly found themselves surrounded by Iranian soldiers. After being accused of spying for the U.S., she would spend the next 410 days in solitary confinement as a political prisoner.


The Box is Shourd’s new play ignited by that experience. Based on a deeply researched journalistic investigation, it is a piece of transformational theater that asks us to re-examine long-held notions of punishment as it reveals the tragic—and sometimes painfully comic and absurd—realities that dictate life “inside the box.” With a plot that illuminates the innate resilience of the human spirit, The Box tracks its characters as they make their journeys against all odds: from racist to revolutionary, from tough-guy to suicide victim, from guru/teacher to frightened, lost soul, and from father to friend.

By turns entertaining and unsettling, The Box is a rare glimpse into the deep end of our prison system, the intimate bonds forged between modern-day heroes the ripple effects of systematic torture, and what it means to be human.

All ages welcome but please be advised that the show contains nudity, swearing and violence.

Running time approx 2 1/2 hours.

For more info please visit: Aplaycalledthebox.com

About the playwright

Journalist and playwright Sarah Shourd survived 410 days of solitary confinement while imprisoned as a political hostage by the Iranian government from 2009 to 2010. Since then she has become a nationally known critic of the overuse of solitary confinement in U.S. prisons. After being freed—driven by a need to understand what happened to her own mind—she has crisscrossed the U.S. in order to collect stories from dozens of people in the isolation units of our country’s most remote and forbidding prisons.

The necessity for me was to find artistic expression for experiences that threatened my sanity, my dignity, and my future. The result is a play about why we need each other.
–Sarah Shourd