The newest production on campus is based on a true story about one woman’s work to protect the rights of women everywhere.
Mrs. Packard is based on the true story of a woman who changed history in the 1860s. Elizabeth Packard was unwillingly admitted to an insane asylum in 1863 for disagreeing with her husband’s religious views and worshiping with Methodists.
In 1863 women had no rights, owned nothing and could be admitted to an insane asylum just for disagreeing with their husbands. Packard stood up against this discrimination.
Packard fought for the rights of married women and to clean up insane asylums.
Through Packard’s work Illinois passed two bills. The first bill declared no one should be treated as an insane person due to his or her beliefs or opinions. The second bill helped protect those admitted into insane asylums and the process of getting there.
Packard kept journals documenting the three years spent in the asylum, as well as her trials with her husband. These journals were essential to her release and became a book series that the play is based on.
Emily Mann wrote the play when she got the idea from her friend who googled Packard after spell- ing her name out in a cross- word puzzle.
“I am drawn to plays that have a foot in true stories and this had more than a foot,” said Judith Palladino, professor of theater for young audiences.
The play is part of the theater school’s Stage II series. It will run 8 p.m. Nov. 5-7 and 2 p.m. Nov. 8 in the Black Box Theater in the Wanda L. Bass Music Center.
The Stage II series includes four plays in the Black Box Theater each semester. The productions emphasize acting and directing with minimal use of design and technical elements.
“We work on a shoestring budget so we produce pure theater without the embellishments,” Palladino said. “Come put another piece in your liberal arts education puzzle.”
Actors have found the show interesting and find it easy to connect to the characters.
This play brings to life a part of history that many people don’t know about and know to be true, said Travis Huddleston, acting junior.
“People should want to come see this show because even though it is set pre- 1900, it is still something that is very much relevant today,” Huddleston said.