Made by Martha
A World Premiere Reading May 7&8 at Alchemical Studios
Part of Ensemble Studio Theatre's First Light Festival
Developed with support from BECHDEL PROJECT'S year-long ROO Residency, THE KIT: MADE BY MARTHA, written by Jeanne Dorsey and directed by Jackson Gay, explores the life and work of Martha Goddard, inventor of the first standardized rape kit.
While working a crisis hotline for runaway teenage girls in 1972 Chicago, Goddard ponders the question of how rape could be investigated as a real crime rather than a made-up story. At a time when sexual violence in America was rarely prosecuted, her innovative thinking sets her on a path to create a powerful scientific procedure that could transform criminal forensics and bring justice to countless victims of sexual assault.
Jeanne Dorsey's play deftly weaves Goddard's obsession with crafting miniatures (like those Goddard saw at the Art Institute) and her journey through the gritty world of sex crimes, the Chicago PD, a surprising alliance with Hugh Hefner's Playboy Foundation, and her own rape later in life which she ironically never reported.
THE KIT: MADE BY MARTHA is a powerful reminder that even when we are flawed and seemingly unremarkable, we are still capable of changing the world.
THE KIT: MADE BY MARTHA was commissioned by the Ensemble Studio Theatre/Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Science & Technology Project, an initiative designed to stimulate artists to create credible and compelling work exploring the worlds of science and technology and to challenge the existing stereotypes of scientists and engineers in the popular imagination. This reading is presented as part of the 2023 First Light Festival, the EST/Sloan Project's annual presentation of new readings, workshops, and productions.