MISSOULA – A preview screening and discussion about the new PBS Civil War drama series “Mercy Street” is slated from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 16, in the University Center Theater at the University of Montana. The event is free and open to the public.
Following the screening, UM history Professor Anya Jabour, a historical adviser to the show, will share her experiences of being on the set during production and offer the Missoula audience a historical perspective. She also will lead a post-screening discussion.
“Mercy Street” follows the lives of two volunteer nurses on opposing sides of the Civil War — New England abolitionist Mary Phinney (actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and Confederate supporter Emma Green (actress Hannah James). The Green family’s luxury hotel in Alexandria, Virginia, has been transformed into Mansion House Hospital, a Union Army facility tending to the war’s wounded. The new PBS drama is based on real events. It was inspired by memoirs and letters from actual doctors and nurses at Mansion House Hospital. The series reveals the stories of those struggling to save lives while managing their own hardships.
The intersection of North and South within the confines of a small, occupied town creates a rich world that is chaotic, conflicted, corrupt, dynamic and even hopeful – a cauldron within which these characters strive, fight, love, laugh, betray, sacrifice and, at times, act like villains. This series is not about battles and glory. It is about the drama and unexpected humor of everyday life behind the front lines. It’s a fresh twist on an iconic story, one that resonates with larger themes society struggles with today.
Linda Talbott, interim director of UM’s Broadcast Media Center, says the Jan. 16 event will “include a partial screening of episode one, plus series extras. And, she adds, “we are lucky to have access to an insider’s perspective into the production of the series, presented by history consultant and UM Professor Anya Jabour.”