Mariposa and the Saint

Julia and Mariposa met in 2005 when Julia was a volunteer with the California Coalition for Women Prisoners (CCWP), and have stayed in contact ever since. In 2012 when Mariposa was given a 15-month SHU term (solitary confinement), they decided to work on a creative project together. When a person is sentenced to the SHU they lose all phone privileges, so the entire writing process would have to be through letters. Julia suggested they work on a play. Mariposa has never seen a play so their process began with Julia sending in plays for her to read and the two of them discussing the content, style, structure, and message. Next, Julia sent Mariposa writing prompts: “What is the story of your name?” “What is your first memory?” and Mariposa used these as a jumping off point, writing about whatever moved her. Julia transcribed Mariposa’s letters (including her letters from before she was in the SHU) and in June 2013, Julia assembled the first script, using only Mariposa’s words. From that time on, the script has been evolving, with Mariposa sending feedback and new ideas, and Julia getting input from audiences and collaborators, sending it in for Mariposa to consider and respond to.

  • Written by Sara (Mariposa) Fonseca & Julia Steele Allen
  • Directed by Noelle Ghoussaini
  • Featuring Ray Huth & Julia Steele Allen
  • Assistant Director/Stage Manager Michi Osato
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