Medical Readers’ Theater
What is Medical Readers’ Theater? The MRT requires no props or sets, and minimal preparation. A discussion leader introduces the program to the audience. The readers sit or stand in front of the audience, scripts in hand. At the conclusion of the reading, the discussion leader facilitates an exchange of ideas among audience members and the readers about the themes and topics presented in the play. This format invites anyone—not just professional actors—to perform and initiate thought-provoking conversations that focus on issues pertinent to the physical, spiritual, and psychological aspects of health and healing 200 years ago and today.
Old Salem’s Medical Readers’ Theater event was specially created to augment “The Moravian Way of Health & Healing” exhibition in the Doctor’s House. This exhibition was supported in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor.
No Ticket Required
The Wachovia Historical Society and Old Salem Museums & Gardens present Medical Readers’ Theater led by Dr. Todd Savitt.
The Medical Readers’ Theater concept was developed by Dr. Todd Savitt, a professor in the department of Bioethics and Interdisciplinary Studies at The Brody School of Medicine, East Carolina University. The program began in 1988 with a grant from the North Carolina Humanities Council, and it evolved into Dr. Savitt’s book, the Medical Readers’ Theater, which was published by the University of Iowa Press in 2002. It uses scripts—based on fictional stories by well-known physician-writers such as William Carlos Williams, Richard Seltzer, and Arthur Conan Doyle—to confront contemporary ethical, medical, and interpersonal issues in healthcare.
The event will include two plays:
“A Face of Stone” by William Carlos Williams
A busy physician takes an instant dislike to a young immigrant couple who bring their infant to the office for a check-up. The story tracks the evolution of this initially poor physician/patient relationship.
“Follow Your Heart” by Richard Selzer
The wife of a man whose organs have been transplanted into several patients seeks solace from her grief in an unusual and ethically questionable way.