Behind the Sheet
Closed 1h 30m
Behind the Sheet

Behind the Sheet NYC Reviews and Tickets

(78 Ratings)
Members say
Great acting, Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Intense, Relevant

About the Show

EST's new drama 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. 

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Show-Score Member Reviews (78)

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164 Reviews | 21 Followers
Great acting, Masterful, Must see

See it if I have seen many plays in my lifetime but this play leaves a profound effect on the viewers.While the subject matter was really horrible,the

Don't see it if If you don't won't to witness the barbaric behavior forced on Black women during their enslavement. Read more

169 Reviews | 72 Followers
Exquisite, Great acting, Masterful, Must see, Thought-provoking

See it if You want to see great script, acting, staging, beautiful costume blended in a small theater. A masterful play on a horrific subject

Don't see it if You want something light,dont want to listen story of the slaves told from their perspective,medical experiment on slaves will make you cry Read more

69 Reviews | 27 Followers
Great acting, Intense, Profound, Thought-provoking, Great writing

See it if you want to see an intense, moving play that puts us face-to-face with a shameful chapter of history while giving voices back to these women

Don't see it if you are squeamish about medical operations/blood being discussed or mimed Read more

97 Reviews | 15 Followers
Heart-wrenching, critical, relevant

See it if If you think it is critical to learn overlooked issues stemming from slavery and the dehumanization of women.

Don't see it if If you don't care about anything serious.. Read more

738 Reviews | 144 Followers
Absorbing, Great acting, Intense, Thought-provoking, Great staging

See it if Very powerful play about Medical experiments on female slaves. Part Fact with some fiction.

Don't see it if You have no interest in that time of history. Read more

292 Reviews | 36 Followers
Absorbing, Exquisite, Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Intense

See it if Little known historical subject matter that will illicit strong emotions. Totally memorable, stimulating, vivid performances

Don't see it if Medical procedures make you squeamish and you want something light

530 Reviews | 278 Followers
Absorbing, Ambitious, Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking

See it if you enjoy plays based on science. This play explores the early days of gynecology and the exploited slave women who participated.

Don't see it if you are uncomfortable with how African American slaves were exploited.

414 Reviews | 70 Followers
Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Intense, Heart-wrenching

See it if historical* subject of how black female slaves were used for multiple painful experimental surgeries - the beginning of modern gynecology

Don't see it if don't want subjects of women in pain or blacks being treated as property Read more

Critic Reviews (11)

The New York Times
January 17th, 2019

"The production takes on cumulative power in its steady, cleareyed depiction of a time when it was a given that pain would be borne uncomplainingly by human beings regarded as chattel...This is, for the most part, a straightforward, conventional work that is not above plying the clichés of scientific breakthrough dramas of yesteryear...But the context, in this case, casts shifting, unsettling light on such classic elements...'Behind the Sheet' may be a quiet play. But its echoes are thunderous."
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Time Out New York
January 17th, 2019

"With a sizable cast of nine actors, some playing multiple roles, the plot sprawls off into too many directions; the scenes about the doctor’s marital life and scientific experimentation aren’t as involving as those that center on his subjects. But it’s reassuring that, although the women fear that no one will remember them, Simpson has seen to it that they won’t be forgotten."
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January 17th, 2019

"Simpson is still developing her voice as a playwright...Each scene is a little too long and shaggy, there are a few too many characters, and certain plot points fall by the wayside. But Simpson must be commended for giving a voice to the voiceless and it's a brave, unflinching piece from top to bottom. The amount of thought and care that went into its development is evident...'Behind the Sheet' may not be a perfect play, but it's a story that deserves to be heard."
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New York Stage Review
January 17th, 2019

"Simpson’s hewing to the recorded facts does sometime give her play the feel of a medical-journal essay, but she has a few dramatist’s wiles up her sleeve to enliven the serious ambience. Her biggest achievement is creating three-dimensional lives for the suffering women...There’s no way of saying that 'Behind the Sheet' is an easy play to watch. It’s hardly mere entertainment. But Simpson’s drama is bold, deserving of attention and understanding."
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January 22nd, 2019

"Obviously, this is a play for which any sort of a happy ending will be deeply compromised, but what Simpson does so beautifully is show us how these women overcome their suspicions and envy to find support...It's tempting for playwrights to work toward such an end by wallowing in sentimentality. However, it never seems that Simpson, Robert or the talented women portraying these characters are pulling frantically at our heartstrings. The plot unfolds simply and satisfyingly."
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Theatre is Easy
January 19th, 2019

“’Behind the Sheet’ is a double-punch in the gut, equally disturbing as an account of medical history and a portrait of life on antebellum Southern plantation. Robert subtly directs a production characterized by earth tones and bathed in warm light. Considering its gruesome subject, the show is surprisingly gentle on the audience’s psyche. Eschewing visual shocks and focusing on human connection, Robert does justice to Simpson’s play and leaves a lot of room for the actors to shine.”
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Front Row Center
January 19th, 2019

“’Behind the Sheet’ tells a story from the early days of gynecology...This absorbing play centers around a particularly debilitating complication arising from difficult child births...Simpson has crafted a drama without sensationalism. Given the unbelievable reality on which it is based, the restraint of both the writing and the intelligent, inventive direction by Robert is near miraculous...The only complaint I have is the pervasive haze...Nevertheless, ‘Sheet’ is not to be missed.”
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Theatre's Leiter Side
January 24th, 2019

“Persuasive in subject matter, writing, and performance…Whether Sims's subjects were willing or not, 'Behind the Sheets' honors them as unsung women whose anguish contributed to women's health…Simpson takes various liberties in altering history for dramatic effect…All of the acting is surprisingly restrained, almost more conversational than theatrical, which works-up to a point. For all its realistic ambience, the…overall tone remains so low key that…it eventually begins to drag.”
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