Typhoid Mary, Patient Zero... and the M Factor

By Danielle Dresden

Directed by Coleman

What do an Irish immigrant cook in the early 1900s, a French-Canadian flight attendant in the 1980s, and a mysterious 21st century outbreak striking foreign students and mosque attendees have in common?

Find out in Typhoid Mary, Patient Zero… and the M Factor, the latest play from TAPIT/new works Ensemble Theater, playing, for one performance only, Thursday, March 22, 2018, 3:00 PM at Edgewood College, Anderson Auditorium. Admission is free and open to the public. This special performance is made possible thanks to the leadership of Professor Mary Elizabeth Bathum, Edgewood College School of Nursing.

The play, a medical thriller, is set at the intersection of public health and personal freedom. It juxtaposes the true stories of Mary Mallon, better known as “Typhoid Mary,” and Gaétan Dugas, the so-called “Patient Zero” of the AIDS epidemic, with a fictitious and frightening outbreak set in the present day. As contemporary characters struggle to contain a mysterious new disease, they must confront personal and political issues similar to those of the past – not to mention their own prejudices.

Written by Danielle Dresden, the play is directed by Coleman and performed by Donavon Armbruster, Isaac Brieske, Liz Light, Joshua Paffel, Donna Peckett, and Dresden. Costumer Rebecca Stanley, graphic artist and set designer Michael Duffy, and stage manager Steppe round out the production crew.

At a time when germ theory was cutting-edge science, Mary Mallon found herself targeted, arrested, and put in isolation. She was told she’d made people sick, but she couldn’t see how. Decades later, a French-Canadian flight attendant is vilified and blamed for spreading AIDS throughout the United States, even though genetic tests eventually prove he couldn’t have.

Were these people treated fairly? Could something similar happen today? How do social values shape responses to public health issues? These are the questions Typhoid Mary, Patient Zero… and the M Factor explores.

TAPIT/new works Ensemble Theater, a professional multi-disciplinary performing arts organization, was founded in 1985 by producing artistic directors Donna Peckett and Danielle Dresden. Driven by the twin engines of artistic innovation and community connection, the Company has developed, produced, and performed 38 new plays, 15 tap and jazz music performances and 11 works for young audiences, performing throughout the U.S. and abroad.

This performance of Typhoid Mary, Patient Zero… and the M Factor is made possible, in part, by The School of Nursing, Edgewood College and the Neil Allen Peckett Memorial Fund of TAPIT/new works Ensemble Theater.

Produced by TAPIT/new works Ensemble Theater at Edgewood College, Anderson Auditorium,

Performances: March 22, 2018

Performance Times:
Thursday, 3:00 PM, March 22, 2018

Dr. Judith Leavitt, a leading authority on Mary Mallon and an expert on medical history and public health, served as a consultant to the project in its development phase and first run in the fall of 2017. Professor. Leavitt will lead a post-performance discussion after the Edgewood performance.

Admission is free and open to the public

Please contact TAPIT at 608.244.2938, or info@tapitnewworks.org for more information.

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