Mary and Sylvia & Hercules

“Mary and Sylvia & Hercules” premiered as part of The Group Rep’s production of UNHIDDEN FIGURES, a virtual play festival of new short plays celebrating African-American women from all walks of life in honor of Black History Month and Women’s History Month.

Admission to this presentation is FREE, but — as always — donations are gratefully accepted to support our year-round programming and our new streaming platform. Scroll down to view.

SKU: 2021-Unhidden-Figures-Mary-Sylvia-Hercules Category:


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As part of Group Rep’s virtual festival, UNHIDDEN FIGURES, we proudly highlight “Mary and Sylvia & Hercules” now available on our website:

Mary and Sylvia & Hercules written and directed by Stevie Stern, performed by Rosibel Mejia.

1981. Mary Wilson, the first African-American zookeeper of the Maryland Zoo, is forced to send two gorillas she raised from infancy to another zoo, but before they go, she joins them in matrimony.

From the author, Stevie Stern:

Thinking about writing a play for the Unhidden Figures play festival, I remembered an obituary I’d read last May about Mary Wilson, the first African-American zookeeper of the Maryland Zoo.  She had extraordinary skills interacting with animals.  None was more unique than her long relationship with Sylvia, a Western lowland gorilla, who Mary cared for when Sylvia arrived as a baby.  When Sylvia was an adult and no longer at the Maryland zoo, she was given an orphaned baby gorilla to care for.  The zookeepers were concerned because Sylvia had never had babies and they weren’t sure how she would respond.  She responded magnificently – the perfect mother.  Everyone attributed her behavior to modeling Mary’s mothering.  This inspired me to write Mary and Sylvia & Hercules, which is based on a real event.

Stevie Stern Bio:

Stevie’s credits include, Writer – TV: “Melrose Place,” “World’s Wildest Police Videos; Plays: The Autopsy of Honey Bees (second place at the Earth Matters On Stage competition), David Hockney’s Couch, The Baby Shower, Reader’s Theatre The 2 Glennis Fish-Adams; Producer – The Princes of Kings Road – SRO run at the Neutra Institute in Silverlake, two performances at Modernism Week in Palm Springs, and exclusive two-night production at the Neutra-designed Lovell Health House in Los Feliz. For GRT’s Holiday virtual one act festival, Stevie wrote Merry Christmas, Relatively Speaking and directed Santa Claus Wanted.