The Artist Embedded blog explores the themes, events, and individuals featured in the two-year project.
At the beginning of the 1970s, to be gay was to be considered sick. Prevailing medical opinion categorized homosexuality as a mental disorder, "curable" by lobotomy and electro-shock therapy. Until one man made a stand: Dr. John Ercel Fryer.
In 1972, Dr. John Fryer dons an oversize tuxedo and rubber joke shop mask to become Dr. Henry Anonymous and confront the American Psychiatric Association with these words: “I am a homosexual, I am a psychiatrist.”
Explore the story of Fryer in 217 Boxes of Dr. Henry Anonymous, a new play by Obie winning writer/director Ain Gordon running May 5-7 at Philadelphia’s Painted Bride Art Center.
217 Boxes of Dr. Henry Anonymous unearths three figures from Fryer's life; asking each to draw a portrait of the man behind the mask.
Using HSP’s collections as source material and inspiration, Ain Gordon “embedded” himself in HSP's historic library and archive while combing through Fryer’s 217-box archive.
Gordon's new play is the culmination of the HSP-led An Artist Embedded project. Over the past two years, Gordon has combed through Fryer’s 217-box archive housed at HSP.
217 Boxes of Dr. Anonymous is co-production of Ain Gordon’s Pick Up Performance Co(s), HSP, and the Painted Bride Art Center.
“Mr. Gordon conjures the sort of distant lives that don’t make it into textbooks, processed into oblivion by what he calls history’s “ruthless editing machine.” – The New York Times
- $15 for students and members of HSP (both groups should please select "HSP member" when purchasing tickets).
- $20 for general admission.
- All tickets are $15 on Opening Night (May 5).
To learn more about Ain Gordon, Dr. Fryer, and the An Artist Embedded project, follow the project blog. Tune-in on Friday afternoons to HSP's Instagram as Art Fellow Diane Roka takes over for #FryerFriday.
Using HSP’s collections as source material and inspiration, playwright Ain Gordon will develop a play driven by the thematic focus of “individual liberty versus national acceptance,” which will explore the historical relevance of these subjects to contemporary issues of marriage equality, voter disenfranchisement, and immigration reform.
The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage (the Center), established in 2005, is dedicated to stimulating a vibrant cultural community in the greater Philadelphia region.
Ain Gordon is an American playwright, director and actor based in New York City. His work frequently deals with the interstices of history, focusing on people and events which are often overlooked or marginalized in "official" histories.
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