The Insanity of Mary Girard: A Haunting Play Based on a True Story
Have you ever wondered what it was like to be a woman in the 18th century who was accused of being insane by her husband If so, you might be interested in reading or watching The Insanity of Mary Girard, a play by Lanie Robertson that dramatizes the real-life story of Mary Girard, a Philadelphia woman who spent the last 25 years of her life in a mental institution.
Mary Girard was the wife of Stephen Girard, a wealthy merchant, banker and philanthropist who founded Girard College. In 1790, after Mary became pregnant by another man, Stephen had her declared legally insane and committed to an asylum. There, she was confined to a cell in the basement of the Pennsylvania Hospital, where she was subjected to harsh treatments and tormented by her own memories and hallucinations.
The play The Insanity of Mary Girard depicts Mary's ordeal in a highly theatrical way. The play is set in Mary's cell, where she is surrounded by four \"furies\" who impersonate people from her past, such as her husband, her lover, her father and her mother. The furies taunt, mock and manipulate Mary, revealing the injustices and abuses she suffered in her life. The play also explores the themes of gender, power, madness and freedom in a patriarchal society.
The play was first produced by Theatre Center Philadelphia at The Painted Bride Art Center on July 4, 1976. It has since been performed by many schools and community theatres across the country. The play has received positive reviews from critics and audiences alike, who praised its engrossing, creepy and compelling portrayal of Mary's tragic fate.
If you are interested in reading or watching The Insanity of Mary Girard, you can find the script online in PDF format. You can also watch some clips of previous productions on YouTube. The play is a powerful and moving piece of theatre that will make you think about the history and treatment of mental illness, as well as the role and rights of women in society.
The play The Insanity of Mary Girard is not only a historical drama, but also a psychological thriller that explores the inner workings of Mary's mind. The play uses the device of the furies, who are inspired by the Greek mythological creatures that punished the wicked. The furies represent Mary's fears, regrets, anger and guilt, as well as the voices of her oppressors. The furies also interact with each other, creating a dynamic and complex dialogue that reveals Mary's past and present.
The play also challenges the audience to question the definition and diagnosis of insanity, especially in relation to women. The play shows how Mary was victimized by a patriarchal system that denied her autonomy, dignity and happiness. The play also exposes the brutal and inhumane treatments that were inflicted on the mentally ill at the time, such as bloodletting, purging, blistering and chaining. The play raises ethical and moral issues about the rights and responsibilities of individuals and institutions in dealing with mental health.
The play The Insanity of Mary Girard has received critical acclaim from various sources, who praised its engrossing, creepy and compelling portrayal of Mary's tragic fate. For example, The Times-Picayune called it \"an engrossing drama on the abuse of the mentally ill\" [^2^], while DC Metro Theater Arts said it was \"fully entertaining, creepy and wonderful\" [^1^]. The play has also been praised for its performances, direction, design and music, which create a haunting and immersive theatrical experience. 061ffe29dd