Behind the Sheet

In 1846, Philomena is a pregnant enslaved woman assisting her owner, Dr. George Barry, as he tries to find the cure for fistulas and tending to his patients, other enslaved black women. Everything changes when he receives a new patient. Inspired by the life and experimentation of Dr. J Marion Sims and the lives of Anarcha, Lucy, and Betsey, three of the enslaved black women he worked on, Behind the Sheet...
In 1846, Philomena is a pregnant enslaved woman assisting her owner, Dr. George Barry, as he tries to find the cure for fistulas and tending to his patients, other enslaved black women. Everything changes when he receives a new patient. Inspired by the life and experimentation of Dr. J Marion Sims and the lives of Anarcha, Lucy, and Betsey, three of the enslaved black women he worked on, Behind the Sheet explores the untold stories behind the rise of modern gynecology.
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Behind the Sheet

Recommended by

  • Rachel Bublitz:
    2 Jun. 2020
    This play is heartbreaking, beautifully written, and potentially nightmare inducing. It is a history I wish more people were aware of, disturbing as it is. Charly Evon Simpson always has so much depth to her characters, and this play is no different. She shows joy in a place one would imagine none would be found, and with this glimmer of joy the pain is that much more felt. Read this play, produce this play, live in this play, let yourself be uncomfortable and torn up with this look at history.
  • Franky Gonzalez:
    18 Dec. 2019
    Unsettling, haunting, filled with both searing critique and heartbreaking humanity. Charly Evon Simpson has created nothing short of both a compelling piece of theatre as well as an indictment of yet another facet of the United States' original sin. Charly Evon Simpson is one of the best playwrights in the U.S., period. Full stop. Behind the Sheet is just yet another affirmation of her immense talents. Read it. If it's produced in your area, watch it. If you're wondering what to produce next season, this play has to be on your list.
  • Maggie Wilson:
    29 Aug. 2019
    Read this play! See this play! Tell your friends and your theaters about this play. It will stay with me for a long time. One of the best things I've seen, ever.

Development History

  • Reading
    ,
    Ensemble Studio Theatre
    ,
    2018
  • Workshop
    ,
    Ensemble Studio Theatre/Sloan Foundation
    ,
    2018
  • Commission
    ,
    Ensemble Studio Theatre/Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Science & Technology Project
    ,
    2016

Production History

  • Professional
    ,
    Ensemble Studio Theatre
    ,
    2019

Awards

The Kilroys List
,
2019
John Gassner Award nominee
,
Outer Critics Circle
,
2019