From Past to Present- 60 years of Scope and Scalpel
For over six decades, the Scope and Scalpel production has been an important tradition at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Beginning in 1955 with an airing of student grievances at a local Oakland pub, this satirical performance allows fourth year medical students a chance to speak candidly, humorously, and even musically about the medical world of Pittsburgh.
Throughout the years, this show has given students the opportunity to engage audience members including family, friends, faculty, and even fellow alumni, by weaving together a common thread of learning and laughing.
These themes are exemplified in the 1958 performance entitled “Satan Place” which was preformed 60 years ago at the Stephen Foster Memorial Theatre. According to producer and alumni Thomas Piemme, MED’58 this show was unique, “in that it had a plot… It follows a marginal student, uncertain as to whether he will be allowed to graduate, who sells his soul to the “Devil” (Jack Myers), and ultimately gets his diploma. The medical school experiences are reflected in the “Circles of Hell.”
Collaboratively written by Class of 1958 alumni Tom Piemme and Don Kubitz, this script was saved and donated to the MAA by Dr. Piemme as a hopeful guide to the Scope and Scalpel productions of the future. Scope and Scalpel productions are influenced by a number of topics, but most closely relate to the issues and pop-culture of the year.
The influences have ranged from popular movies, to songs, to actual Pitt Med physicians and friends. This was the case for 1958. “In a big way, the show was a salute to Jack Myers who had arrived at Pitt in our sophomore year, and became a hero and mentor to many of us,” says Dr. Piemme.
Scope and Scalpel is a way for each class to express creativity and community, while having fun and enjoying the last few months at Pitt Med. Alumni support has allowed this production to remain the longest running theatrical performance in Western PA, and helped the Class of 2018 reach a goal of over $10K to make the production possible. As we join the Class of 2018 on May 18th-20th at the Central Catholic High School Auditorium, the MAA encourages all to remember the classes and comedy that built Scope and Scalpel at Pitt Med.
For more information on the Class of 2018 Scope and Scalpel please visit: https://engage.pitt.edu/project/15051
To see the full 1958 playbill or to see any previous Scope and Scalpel please visit: http://files.hsls.pitt.edu/files/rarebooks/ead/ms003.xml