Directed by Pamela Hunt
Music by Sande Campbell and Todd Montgomery
When military apprentice and black freeman Jebediah Wall delivers a wounded Rebel soldier to a Northern field hospital, Dr. Cordell Cuttaridge teaches him a harsh lesson in sacrificing a limb to save a life. But a decade after the Civil War ends, will his mutilated patients consider the surgeon a merciful savior, or a merciless Sawbones?
From the Playwright:
During the Civil War, on the North side, the USCT (U.S. Colored Troops), were permitted to fight and die for freedom from slavery. But only 3 men of color who had managed to earn M.D. degrees were commissioned officers and allowed to treat the injured. (They had to get their M.D.s from U of Glasgow & Trinity College, Ontario.)
Nine other men of color received their M.D.s by 1860 and did serve in the Northern Army. They were not given commissions. These men were called ‘Acting Assistant Surgeons’.
The larger group of dedicated black men interested in trying to save lives and fight disease learned their medicine the old-fashioned way…. by Apprenticeship under a willing white doctor. They all understood that being a doctor requires specific skills they could learn by observation, if they were allowed, plus their own good intuition and natural compassion. SAWBONES, Part One: Scenes from an Amputation tells the story of just such a black man, Jebidiah Wall, who, with the help of Dr. Cordell Cuttaridge, awakes to his potential as a man of medicine.
About the Playwright:
CARRIE ROBBINS (Playwright), MFA Yale (Design), has spent the majority of her work-life designing costumes on B’way & Off, Alaska to Hamburg. Along the way she has acquired many awards & nominations (Tony, Drama Desk, and so on) for her design work. She’s particularly known for the quality of her character drawing. In 2011 she became the 2nd costume designer ever to be honored with a monograph on her design work (Published by USITT/Broadway Press). In May, 2012, she was given the Irene Sharaff Lifetime Achievement Award presented by the Theatre Development Fund/Costume Collection “for Excellent in Costume Design”. She also curated (2008-09) an exhibit at the NY Public Library for the Performing Arts, “CURTAIN CALL, Celebrating a Century of Design by Women for Live Performance”, and has written over half the accompanying catalog (from 1949 to 2009), still available at the Library desk. Robbins has been an integral part of the American theatre scene for many years, working well under the radar with extraordinary people, and observing. Now she attempts to apply what she’s learned by putting the characters she sees in her head ‘on paper’ via words rather than images.
RD ROBBINS MD (Surgeon, Writer), graduate of Harvard (History/Lit/Biology) & NYU/Bellevue, retired from his long surgical practice to return to his first love, writing. In 2+ years, 75 of his stories were published in respected journals of the Small Literary Press in this country, England, Australia, & Hong Kong. He was asked to read his work for prestigious literary magazines (NYC & Boston). Four stories were nominated for the Pushcart Prize – for Excellence in Short Story Writing. But Dr. Robbins only knew of the first. Barely three years into his ‘new’ career, he was diagnosed with a swift, painful, & to date un-curable cancer. He died soon after.
Carrie Robbins found many of the hundreds of stories he wrote more compelling than what she was seeing in her work in the Theatre and this was the genesis of Robbins as a playwright. She began to dramatize some of these stories, and was encouraged by the private readings she held, and the actors’ and audience responses. She is particularly grateful for the encouragement of TACT, The Actors’ Company Theatre, the newTACTics program, & the extraordinary compliment of actors, director, & musicians who make these SAWBONES evenings possible.