Behind the Sheet

In 1846, Philomena is a pregnant slave 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...
In 1846, Philomena is a pregnant slave 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

  • 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.
  • Amy Berryman:
    26 Mar. 2019
    Every theatre in America should do this play. Powerful, deep, haunting look at an ugly chapter in the history of American medicine and the role black enslaved women played in it.
  • Aeneas Sagar Hemphill:
    10 Mar. 2019
    A very powerful, brilliantly-written play on the often forgotten role of enslaved black women in the development of gynecology. Tragic, moving, timely, and necessary. Simpson approaches the story with sensitivity, depth, and wisdom, imbuing every character with the dignity and complexity they deserve. Such an important story that must be experienced.

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

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