The Shadow Box


Writers: Michael Cristofer


Show Information

Number of Acts
Tony Award®
Best Play 1977
First Produced
Multiple Settings, Unit/Single Set
Time & Place
1970s, california, a hospital, hospice cottages
Cast Size
Ideal for
College/University, Community Theatre, Ensemble Cast, Professional Theatre, Regional Theatre
Casting Notes

Includes adult, mature adult, early teen, elderly characters


Joe, Brian, and Felicity come from different walks of life, different parts of the country, and are in different stages of accepting the things they have in common: they are all dying of cancer, and they are all living out their final days, in company with friends and family, in homey hospice cottages on the green and pleasant grounds of a large California hospital. They are observed, studied, and counseled by an invisible Interviewer as they talk candidly about their emotional and physical struggles, and face interpersonal challenges: Joe’s wife Maggie, in denial about her husband’s impending death, refuses to go inside his cottage; artistic Brian, busy trying to write and paint enough for twelve lifetimes, must mediate between his ex-wife Beverly and his boyfriend Mark; and Felicity, confused and in pain, refuses to die until she gets a visit from her daughter Claire -- a daughter who has been dead for years. Michael Cristofer’s sensitive, emotionally devastating, ground-breaking play exploring the end of life experience won both a Tony Award for Best Play and a Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1977.

Lead Characters

The Shadow Box guide sections