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Devil in a Box

The summer of a lifetime for a small town girl from Nebraska, a chance to study overseas, changes the trajectory of her life forever.  A weekend in Paris with friends that ends before it begins, a young woman finds herself in a hospital, an empty shell of who she used to be.  After days spent with police and detectives, her assailant jailed, she begins the next chapter of her life: the trial of her rapist.

Devil in a Box is writer and performer Sarah Jane Johnson’s true story of survival.  Memories in the form of monologue and steely poetry weave us back and forth through the events leading up to the assault, her attempts at piecing together a new life in New York and the three subsequent trips back to Paris to prosecute.  Through artful reenactments of the courtroom trial, Sarah Jane takes us on her journey of the successful prosecution of her rapist, and dealing with the intangible concept of justice, discovers that a conviction does not heal her wounds.

With honesty and redemptive humor, and a 24 ounce can of Miller Lite in hand, Sarah Jane purges her experiences of post-traumatic stress disorder, HIV prevention medication, depression and alcohol abuse.  From tales of Internet dating, the Parisian version of Janet Reno and the navigation through a foreign legal system by someone who can’t even order a sandwich in French, we find liberation to laugh in spite of it all.

With fierce wit Sarah Jane shares her story with a raw grace rarely seen in storytelling.  DIAB brings an urgent honesty to the collective trauma of rape, the lasting effects of victimization, and yet ultimately speaks to the triumphant journey to reclaim her voice.  We bare witness to a woman breaking the pervasive silence that grips most victims.  Sarah Jane Johnson gives us all the courage to travel to the universal heart of trauma, hope and recovery.

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