Ensemble Studio Theatre Will Present Charly Evon Simpson's BEHIND THE SHEET

Ensemble Studio Theatre Will Present Charly Evon Simpson's BEHIND THE SHEET

Ensemble Studio Theatre (EST) and The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation will present the World Premiere of Behind the Sheet, written by Charly Evon Simpson (Jump) and directed by Colette Robert (Mary's Wedding). Part of the EST/Sloan Science & Technology Project (Graeme Gillis, Program Director; Linsay Firman, Associate Director), Behind the Sheet will begin previews at EST's Curt Dempster Theatre (549 W. 52nd Street, New York, NY 10019) on January 9, 2019, with an opening night set for January 17, for a limited run through February 3, 2019.

Behind the Sheet is inspired by the story of Dr. J. Marion Sims, who is widely known as the controversial "father of modern gynecology." Inventor of the speculum and creator of a technique to cure severe gynecological ailments, he was a champion for women's health when medical schools taught nothing about female reproductive anatomy. However, he made his discoveries by repeatedly performing experimental surgery on his female slaves, including three, Anarcha, Lucy and Betsey, about whom no more is known than their names. Playwright Charly Evon Simpson imagines the experiences of these women lost to history. In her play, Dr. George Barry purchases slaves who developed painful fistulas during labor. Simpson dramatizes their involuntary participation in Barry's surgeries, as they yearn for a cure and dread the pain of each new surgical experiment. Alongside their suffering, Simpson traces the friendships, loyalties and rivalries that develop between the women as they endure a string of failures in pursuit of the slim hope of relief.

EST also announced today the dates for the world premiere of GEORGIA MERTCHING IS DEAD, written by Catya McMullen (Locked Up Bitches). Presented by EST Youngblood, GEORGIA MERTCHING IS DEAD will begin previews on March 6, 2019, with opening night set for March 14, for a limited run through March 31, 2019.

Gretchen, Emma and Whitney are thirty. They've been friends since they were teenagers. They've been sober since they were teenagers. As they set off on a road trip south-with homemade female urination devices, too much pie, ill-advised sexual escapades-to celebrate and mourn a figure from their past, GEORGIA MERTCHING IS DEAD reveals what it's like to face adulthood and death after growing up weird and possibly broken.

Tickets for Behind the Sheet and GEORGIA MERTCHING IS DEAD will go on sale at a later date.

EST's 50th Anniversary Season will begin this fall with the World Premiere of Travisville, presented by EST and The Radio Drama Network. Travisville, written by William Jackson Harper ("The Good Place") and directed by Steve H. Broadnax III (The Hip-Hop Project), begins previews October 3, 2018, and opens on October 11 for a run through October 28, 2018. The 50th Anniversary Season will conclude with the Ensemble Studio Theatre and Radio Drama Network presenting EST's 37th Marathon of One-Act Plays in May-June 2019.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT www.ensemblestudiotheatre.org

Photo by Crystal Arnette

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