This Prison Where I Live

About the Play

It is 1879, and Edwin Booth is preparing for his opening at the McVicker Theatre in Chicago in the title role of Richard II. He is plagued in his preparations by the ghost of his younger brother, John Wilkes, and the ghost of his beloved first wife Mary Devlin and nearly destroyed by his current wife, Mary McVicker Booth, who is descending into madness. Beset with fits of panic and grief, he takes refuge at the theatre, until a strange young man interrupts him, and sets in motion an event that will either ​change him or destroy him. This Prison Where I Live offers terrific roles for the entire cast, and requires strong Shakespeare skills.

Cast of 5 (3 men, 2 women / no doubling).

Age range-20's-40's

One set with minimal changes. Minimal props, one costume change (for Edwin).

Period costumes.

Run time 2 hours (with an intermission).

"On the surface, Iannone's play appears to be little more than a historical ghost story, but underneath it asks tough questions about ambition, forgiveness and redemption."

"Iannone’s fictionalized account of the Booth family and their tragedies, both public and private, provides a sometimes funny and often thought-provoking look at what it means to be in the present while honoring the past."

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"How one woman can work behind the scenes to craft such an eloquent and compelling script, while also finding the time to act on stage, is utterly amazing."

"Iannone's articulate, commanding spirit comes through in the characters she's written and the actors she's directed."

"Iannone's achievement, beyond the work itself and assembling such a stellar group of creatives, lies in encouraging a curiosity for histories both infamous and intimate."

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"Written and directed by well-known and highly respected actor Angela Iannone, This Prison pulls in the audience from the start as Booth rehearses and JWB shows up—as a ghost. But other worlds aside, they are after all, brothers. So the family rivalry— and love/hate aspects that follow—set in, making for an engrossing drama with well-informed writing, stellar acting and spot-on direction, all in 95 minutes."

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Production History

This Prison Where I Live premiered in a production by TITAN Theater in New York City in 2014.

Staged readings:

  • Door Shakespeare (Bailey's Harbor, WI)
  • Forward Theatre Company (Madison WI)
  • Second Act New Works (St. George, UT)

The Midwest regional premiere was produced by Theater RED in 2018 at the Tenth Street Theater in Milwaukee, WI.

Perusals, Rights & Royalties

To order a perusal script or to inquire for performance rights and royalties, please email angela@angelaiannone.com.

Photos on this page from the TITAN Theatre Co. production of This Prison Where I Live by Lloyd Mulvey.