An important medical breakthrough has a shameful history. In 1840s Alabama, a slave-owning doctor performs medical experiments on involuntary subjects – enslaved women – in an effort to solve the problem of fistulas, a post-childbirth anomaly. As the experiments proceed, and he gets close to a solution, the women try to survive and even find dignity in the face of inhuman treatment.
Includes conversations with playwright Charly Evon Simpson and Dr. Deirdre Cooper Owens, author of Medical Bondage: Race, Gender and the Origins of American Gynecology.
Recorded at The Invisible Studios, West Hollywood, in August 2019.
Behind the Sheet is part of L.A. Theatre Works’ Relativity Series featuring science-themed plays. Lead funding for the Relativity Series is provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, bridging science and the arts in the modern world.
Directed by Rosalind Ayres, Inger Tudor
Producing Director Susan Albert Loewenberg
Monica McSwain as Mary
Matthew Floyd Miller as Samuel and Edward
Dominique Morisseau as Dinah
Larry Powell as Lewis and Benjamin
Devon Sorvari as Josephine
Jasmine St. Clair as Betty
Josh Stamberg as George
Danielle Moné Truitt as Sally
Karen Malina White as Philomena
Narrated by Inger Tudor
Associate Artistic Director, Anna Lyse Erikson. Sound Designer and Mixing Engineer: Mark Holden for The Invisible Studios, West Hollywood. Senior Radio Producer, Ronn Lipkin. Foley Artist, Jeff Gardner. Recording Engineer and Editor: Neil Wogensen.