Baltimore medical school to host play by local physician

Johns Hopkins Medical School in Baltimore, Md., will host the play "Marginalia," written by Hot Springs physician and playwright Dr. Richard Pellegrino, as part of the "Art of Medicine" project at 6 p.m. April 6.

The centerpiece of the event is a staged reading of "Marginalia," followed by a Q&A conducted by Pellegrino and including JHMI faculty and actors from the play. The project adresses the fact that medicine has both a scientific and a human side. Diagnosing a disease properly is of paramount importance and requires keen analytical skills, a news release said. Discussing these issues with patients and understanding the effect on their lives is an art and requires an understanding of the human condition. 

Pellegrino wrote a series of poems about his experiences with patients while he was a medical resident in the 1980s. He saved them and Incorporated these and other experiences into "Marginalia."

"Marginalia" is about a prominent physician who finds himself haunted by the memories of former patients whom he feels he let down. His unease becomes acute when he develops a serious illness. He is compelled to face these difficult memories head on and be held accountable for his actions. Ultimately, it is these very patients that help him understand the power of hope, and rediscover the emotions and ideals that called him to medicine in the first place.

The play has been produced at the Wildwood Park for the Arts Theater in Little Rock, and offers many opportunities to explore important issues regarding the doctor-patient relationship. It will be produced as a showcase in New York City before going to Baltimore. Pellegrino's other works include "Taking Back the Future," a documentary on the patient experience with multiple sclerosis, which premiered at the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival; "I Love You Not," an original play that also premiered in Hot Springs; and "Point Source," a medical thriller about a mysterious outbreak of multiple sclerosis in rural Arkansas.

Johns Hopkins has pioneered the concept of using art as a teaching tool in medicine for more than 110 years through its Department of Art as Applied to Medicine. The department focuses mainly on the visual arts. The "Art of Medicine" project seeks to extend this concept to the theatrical arts, using the power of story to start conversations about the human side of medicine. 


"Baltimore medical school to host play by local physician." The Sentinel Record [Hot Springs, AR] 11 Mar 2016: Entertainment. Print.

"Alumni Notes." Yale School of Drama [New Haven, CT] 2013-2014: 76. Print.