The world premiere of Charly Evon Simpson's play Behind the Sheet joins the Ensemble Studio’s 2018–2019 lineup. 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.
Behind the Sheet will be directed by Colette Robert (Mary’s Wedding). Performances will begin January 9, 2019, ahead of a January 17 opening, and will continue through February 3.
The new play by Jump playwright Simpson is inspired by the story of Dr. J. Marion Sims, the controversial "father of modern gynecology"—a champion for women's health while repeatedly performing experimental surgery on his female slaves.
Dr. J. Marion Sims was the inventor of the speculum and creator of a technique to cure severe gynecological ailments. Despite advancing a field that was largely unexplored, he made his discoveries by experimenting on his female slaves. In Behind the Sheet, Simpson imagines the experiences of three of these women—Anarcha, Lucy and Betsey—about whom history knows little more than their names.
The play joins the previously announced 2018–2019 slate, made up of two additional world premieres: Travisville, a new play by actor and playwright William Jackson Harper (The Good Place, After the Blast), and Catya McMullen's Georgia Mertching Is Dead.