Performances begin January 9 for the world premiere of Charly Evon Simpson's Behind the Sheet, directed by Colette Robert at Ensemble Studio Theatre. Reframing the origin story of modern gynecology, the new work shines a light on the enslaved black women in 1840s Alabama who involuntarily enabled a medical breakthrough.
Naomi Lorrain (Orange is the New Black) stars as Philomena, a woman who assists a doctor—her owner—as he performs experimental surgeries on her fellow slave women, trying to find a treatment for the painful post-childbirth complications known as fistulas.
The cast is completed by Stephen James Anthony (War Horse) as Edward/Samuel, Nia Calloway (All One Forest) as Betty, Cristina Pitter (BALLS) as Sally, Shawn Randall (Travisville) as Benjamin/Lewis, Joel Ripka (American Jornalero) as George, Megan Tusing (Mope) as Josephine, Amber Reauchean Williams (No King In Israel) as Mary, and Jehan O. Young (Think Before You Holla) as Dinah.
Behind the Sheet will open January 17 and continue through February 3.
The play is part of the EST/Sloan Science & Technology Project, EST's ongoing partnership with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to commission, develop, and produce new works that explore the worlds of science, technology, and economics.
For more information visit EnsembleStudiotheatre.org.