INDIANAPOLIS — After spending more than a decade in prison, an Indiana man is channeling his experience through an upcoming play about life in jail.

“This is real life, as best as you can get. Especially, when you are dealing with people who have been through this before. Not just incarceration, but waiting for loved ones,” tells Tyrone Edwards Jr. writer of the play War Behind Bars.

Edwards Jr. was sentenced to 25 years for dealing and drug possession, however he got out in 12 years. After his brother passed away, he promised him he would never go back. He began to find healing through his writing.

“During that spiritual journey, God took me on a whirlwind of writing. That’s the only way I knew how to deal with the time that I had,” explains Edwards Jr., “During that process, I began to figure something out, so I began to write.”

He wrote about what was happening, what he knew, and how his spirituality played a role. It helped shape the characters and the narrative of his play War Behind Bars. The story centers around a man who is in prison, and his struggle to keep his life and relationships intact. It also deals with spiritual awakening.

“Some people are wrongfully accused. Some people actually did the crime, and now they are trying to figure out, ‘How can I fix it when I get out?’ You have family members that are in jail, and they feel like everyone is gone. What is the sense of even coming out?” explains Edwards Jr.

“I think those stories get most of the headlines. Those stories about the recidivism. Those are the ones that everybody talks about. People aren’t so quick to talk about these men who go in and say this isn’t the life for me,” continues Kimberly Mcmurray, an actress and director of the play, “I don’t think anyone will walk away from this show without it resonating, and staying with them long after they leave. I hope they come away with a more human view of those who were incarcerated.”

Out of the more than 20 actors in the play, all but four of the men have spent time in incarceration. Mcmurray spent time in the juvenile system as a kid.

“A lot of the input is very, very real. It’s definitely not Hollywood scripted. This is real life with real emotions and real feelings,” says Mcmurray, “I was in as a juvenile, and I remember even as a 15-year-old, the correctional officer telling me this is who you will always be. He referred to me by “912364” which was my juvenile DOC number. I thank God that that was not my story, and not my end. It’s the truth for so many others. They just have to understand there are other options.”

War Behind Bars will show at the Warren Performing Arts Center on April 23 at 6 pm. If you are looking to buy tickets just click here.