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  • gilwilson 3:02 PM on May 5, 2020 Permalink | Reply  

    “Behind the Sheet” By Charly Evon Simpson 

    sheetBehind the Sheet
    By: Charly Evon Simpson
    Narrated by: Monica McSwain, Matthew Floyd Miller, Dominique Morisseau, Larry Powell, Devon Sorvari, Josh Stamberg, Jasmine St. Clair, Danielle Truitt, Inger Tudor, Karen Malina White
    Length: 2 hrs and 7 mins
    Release date: 02-15-20
    Publisher: L.A. Theatre Works

    This play is based on the story of Dr. J. Marion Sims, who is known as the father of modern gynecology.  In this play Dr. Barry is trying to find a way to close fistulas after childbirth.  To do so he is buying slave women who suffer from the affliction or are about to give birth.  His treatment of slave women completely reflects the attitudes of the times, in that he experiments on the women thinking they are lesser humans because they are black.

    While the future has benefited from the work of the doctor, at what cost?  He forgoes anesthesia on the slave women because they are “less prone to pain” than white women.  All his experimental surgeries are done by having the other slaves hold down the woman get the treatment at the time and then opium afterward.  At one point another doctor says that ether is available for surgeries, but he says he won’t need it until he’s perfected his treatment and will then use that on white women.

    How the women around cope with and survive the inhuman treatment is the story here.  They struggle to maintain their dignity.  During the listening of this performance I found myself uncomfortable with the treatment of the women.  If that is the point of this play, then well done, job complete.

    I did think that the doctor, even though his name was changed for the play, was treated to nicely.  It’s pretty barbaric the way he treats the slave women as mere animals that he can just pluck out of the metaphorical cage and begin experimenting on.   Reminded me a lot of the stories coming out of the concentration camps in Nazi Germany.  I think I would have made the doctor more of a monster but he gets a bit of a soft brush when painting his character.

    Disturbing, drama, and a spotlight on a time in history we all wish would never have happened, but we constantly need that reminder.

    Again another great production from  L.A. Theatre Works that puts you in the middle of the performance.

    Publisher’s Summary
    An important medical breakthrough has a shameful history. In 1840s Alabama, a slave-owning doctor performs medical experiments on involuntary subjects – enslaved women – in an effort to solve the problem of fistulas, a post-childbirth anomaly. As the experiments proceed, and he gets close to a solution, the women try to survive and even find dignity in the face of inhuman treatment.

    Includes conversations with playwright Charly Evon Simpson and Dr. Deirdre Cooper Owens, author of Medical Bondage: Race, Gender and the Origins of American Gynecology.

    Recorded at The Invisible Studios, West Hollywood, in August 2019.

    Behind the Sheet is part of L.A. Theatre Works’ Relativity Series featuring science-themed plays. Lead funding for the Relativity Series is provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, bridging science and the arts in the modern world.

    Directed by Rosalind Ayres, Inger Tudor

    Producing Director Susan Albert Loewenberg

    Monica McSwain as Mary

    Matthew Floyd Miller as Samuel and Edward

    Dominique Morisseau as Dinah

    Larry Powell as Lewis and Benjamin

    Devon Sorvari as Josephine

    Jasmine St. Clair as Betty

    Josh Stamberg as George

    Danielle Moné Truitt as Sally

    Karen Malina White as Philomena

    Narrated by Inger Tudor

    Associate Artistic Director, Anna Lyse Erikson. Sound Designer and Mixing Engineer: Mark Holden for The Invisible Studios, West Hollywood. Senior Radio Producer, Ronn Lipkin. Foley Artist, Jeff Gardner. Recording Engineer and Editor: Neil Wogensen.

    ©2020 L.A. Theatre Works (P)2020 L.A. Theatre Works

  • gilwilson 4:05 PM on May 4, 2020 Permalink | Reply  

    “Lady Death: Blasphemy Anthem” by Brian Pulido 

    50725762._SY475_Lady Death: Blasphemy Anthem
    by Brian Pulido
    Story: Brian Pulido, Mike MacLean
    Interiors: Dheeraj Verma, Sabine Rich
    Cover: Diego Bernard, Alisson Rodrigues, Ceci de la Cruz
    Chapter 10 in the Coffin Comics Lady Death Universe.
    Hardcover, Kickstarter Hardcover, 48 pages
    Published January 2020 by Coffin Comics

    Chapter 10 of the Lady Death Universe opens just after the tragic events of “Scorched Earth,” an extinction level disaster brought on by The Trinity.  At this point the world wonders whether Lady Death is a hero or a threat to humankind.  Even The Sworn, a group of supernatural anti-heroes begin to wonder.  It doesn’t help that she is seeking some dark power and leaves bodies in her path to find that power.

    Lady Death Takes her battle against The Trinity to Phoenix (which just happens to be author, Brian Pulido’s, hometown)  The story is all part of a huge story arc to be continued in the next installment, “Malevolent Decimation,” which I should be receiving in my mailbox sometime this month.

    Pulido knows how to tell a story and his group of anti-heroes are a great assortment to have as a foundation for a superhero/supernatural comic.  The artwork comes alive with action and the details in the pages keep you looking over and over through the book to catch all subtleties.

    I will say that Lady Death comes out a changed person and while I’m not sure where Brian Pulido is taking his group, The Sworn, and Lady Death,  I do know I will definitely stay in line for the next issue and read on.


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