Ether Dome Curtain Calls

Curtain Calls

  Name: Michael Bakkensen

  Role: Horace Wells

  Hometown: Portland, Oregon.

How are you like your character?

I share Horace’s idealism, but I don’t think I’m quite as naive as he was about the dangers posed by untrustworthy friends or chemicals.

How has this play changed your perception on modern medicine?

Until working on this play I didn’t comprehend the depth of pain and suffering and the hopelessness before the advent of anesthetics.

  Name: Tom Patterson

  Role: William Morton

  Hometown: South Bend, Indiana.

How are you like your character?

I think William and I both want to prove ourselves, that there’s a need to belong, to be loved. I think I’m less ruthless!

How has this play changed your perception on modern medicine?

I think I’m extremely happy to NOT live in a pre-anesthesia world, and I’m grateful for the advances humanity has made. It also makes me hopeful we’ll find cures for cancer, AIDS, Parkinson’s, ALS, and every other debilitating disease and disorder. There’s a lot left to be discovered.

  Name: Ken Cheeseman

  Role: Augustus Gould

  Hometown: Born in Providence, Rhode Island; Lives in Newton, Massachusetts

How are you like your character?

Like Augustus Gould, I have an interest both in medicine and the natural sciences, like marine biology. Unlike Dr. Gould who was an exceptional cataloguer, I am not a good record-keeper. I like details in the moment but am not particularly good at chronicling them.

How has this play changed your perception on modern medicine?

This play delves into how profoundly the art of surgery was changed by the introduction of consistently dependable anesthetics. Like most of us in the modern age, I have friends and family members whose lives have been saved by surgery. None of the major surgeries that this brings to mind could ever have been done without modern anesthetics. This play has made me hyperaware of and highly appreciative of the role of the anesthesiologist in modern surgery.

  Name: Amelia Pedlow

  Role: Elizabeth Wales Wells

  Hometown: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

How are you like your character?

I, too, firmly believe that full credit for the discovery of anesthesia deserves to go to Horace Wells. Elizabeth Wells fought her whole life to get her husband the partial credit he was eventually rewarded, and I can only hope to be like such a brilliant, strong, loyal woman.

How has this play changed your perception on modern medicine?

The very brief scene between Elizabeth Wells and Elizabeth Morton. In a play and a time in history dominated by men, I find it so deeply satisfying that our playwright gives the audience a small window into the lives of women at that time. It’s a scene where two women from vastly different backgrounds and ways of life reach for advice and support from a stranger. I love it.

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