The contents include dramatized versions of the following classic stories, many of them in this annotated in this database: William Carlos Williams’s A Face of Stone, The Girl with a Pimply Face, The Use of Force, (annotatd by Felice Aull and by Pamela Moore and Jack Coulehan), Old Doc Rivers, Richard Selzer’s Fetishes, Imelda, and Whither Thou Goest, Susan Onthank Mates’s Ambulance, and Laundry, Pearl S. Buck’s The Enemy, Arthur Conan Doyle’s Round the Red Lamp, Katherine Anne Porter’s "He”; Mary E. Wilkins Freeman’s "A Mistaken Charity”; Margaret Lamb’s "Management”.

All but the last three stories enjoy separate entries in this database. Porter’s story is of a family who copes with a handicapped son. Freeman’s describes how local do-gooders move elderly sisters from their dilapidated home. Lamb writes of an aging African American woman living on social security in dangerous surroundings.


At last! a useful collection for students of medicine and other health disciplines that allows for group discovery of some classic medical tales. Each story has been faithfully revised into a dramatic dialogue for a narrator and "actors,” some of whom could play several parts. The longest play is 17 pages and would take approximately a half hour to perform. Following the performance, discussion by audience and actors could nicely fill an in-class hour.

Savitt has extensive experience in readers’ theatre. With a Ph.D. in southern American history, he teaches history and ethics in the medical humanities program of East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina. His disarmingly modest introduction offers common-sense advice. Each piece is presented with an abstract and suggestions for stage layout and direction; it is followed by a variety of discussion points, which will be helpful for first-time thespians who fear a silent aftermath. A single page of biographical information about the authors completes the volume.

Savitt cautions users to have realistic expectations about the pitfalls of the genre--for example, when the actors are more numerous than the audience. But his clarity, enthusiasm, and energy are infectious. This annotator hopes the present volume will be first in a series that will eventually include dramatized translations of medical stories from other languages too.


Univ. of Iowa Press

Place Published

Iowa City




Todd L. Savitt

Page Count