BEHIND THE SHEET Adds Unprecedented Third Extension At Ensemble Studio Theatre
Ensemble Studio Theatre (EST) (William Carden, Artistic Director, Sarah McLellan, Executive Director) and The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation (Doron Weber, Vice-President, Programs) announced today that due to unprecedented and overwhelming response, the World Premiere of Behind the Sheet has been extended for a third time. Part of the EST/Sloan Science & Technology Project (Graeme Gillis, Program Director; Linsay Firman, Associate Director), Behind the Sheet is written by Charly Evon Simpson (Jump) and directed by Colette Robert (Mary's Wedding).
Behind the Sheet began previews at EST's Curt Dempster Theatre (549 W. 52nd Street, New York, NY 10019) on January 9, 2019, and opened January 17. Originally set to close on February 3, the play will now run through March 10, 2019. EST's previously announced production of GEORGIA MERTCHING IS DEAD by Catya McMullen will be rescheduled to a later date.
"The overwhelming audience response has shown us how powerfully Charly Evon Simpson's play is using the lens of the past to shine a new light on race in this country today," said Artistic Director William Carden. "That's why in partnership with the Sloan Foundation we felt we had to create more opportunity for Behind the Sheet to be heard."
"We are thrilled to extend Charly Evon Simpson's powerful and important new play that was commissioned, developed and produced by the EST/Sloan Project, a pioneering 20-year collaboration responsible for over 300 new science-themed plays," said Doron Weber, Vice President and Program Director at the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. "Complementing Sloan's multi-media support for Hidden Figures, which dramatizes the intellectual contributions of hitherto invisible female African-American scientists and engineers, Behind the Sheet focuses on the hitherto voiceless, female African-American slaves whose bodies provided the involuntary, experimental fodder for a major medical and scientific breakthrough. These stories of our history and culture, in which science looms large, need to be told, and in playwright Charly Evon Simpson's Behind the Sheet, they have found a mighty and poetic teller."
The cast of Behind the Sheet includes Stephen James Anthony (War Horse) as Edward/Samuel, Nia Calloway (All One Forest) as Betty, Naomi Lorrain ("Orange is the New Black") as Philomena, 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.
Charly Evon Simpson confronts the history of a great medical breakthrough by telling the forgotten story of a community of enslaved black women who involuntarily enabled the discovery. In 1840s Alabama, Philomena 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. Reframing the origin story of modern gynecology, Behind the Sheet tells how these women supported each other, and questions who, and what, history remembers.
Tickets for Behind the Sheet are now on sale for $30, with tickets for students and seniors available for $25. Tickets can be purchased at www.ensemblestudiotheatre.org. The performance schedule is as follows: Monday at 7pm, Wednesday - Saturday at 7pm, Saturday at 2pm, and Sunday at 5pm. Post-show panel discussions will take place following the 2pm performances on Saturday February 26 and Saturday March 2.