The Box, a play about solitary confinement in U.S. prisons written by journalist Sarah Shourd, will be performed on the historic site of Alcatraz Island this June 13 to June 17, 2019, as part of a year-long exhibit, “Future IDs of Alcatraz,” curated by artist Gregory Sale in coordination with the National Parks Services. Alcatraz Island is known for its infamous prison which closed in 1963 and has since become a museum visited by 1.4 million tourists each year.
Alcatraz has become a symbol of both the reality and horror of incarceration. Shourd’s play, based on her 3-year investigation into the horrors of solitary confinement, 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. Its debut on Alcatraz will be a powerful and historic moment for the movement against solitary confinement and mass incarceration.