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This Month's Theater Production Numb Explores the History of Pain Medicine

Although it might not seem that pain and the arts have much in common, the two can sometimes reflect one another. Art can be a utilized as a treatment or method of self-expression for those in pain, and pain can be a subject for art.

Pain comes together with a big dose of history to be the subject of an upcoming play, Numb. Produced by New Orleans’ own Goat in the Road Productions and written and directed by Chris Kaminstein, Numb provides a theatrical look at the history of medicine, specifically advancements in anesthesiology and pain medicine. The play presents the human stories that went along with the medical progress.

The writer/director was inspired in the creation of the play by the New Orleans’ Pharmacy Museum. The museum is in the historic French Quarter, and is housed in the site of nation’s first apothecary of a licensed pharmacist. That pharmacist, Louis J. Dufilho, Jr. became licensed way back in 1816, when arsenic, mercury, cocaine, and heroine were considered legitimate medications.

Goat in the Road Productions is also collaborating with pain and public health experts in the cultivation of discussions about pain and pain relief. The production company is releasing four podcasts on with pain-related themes prior to the show’s opening. They can be found at

Numb will have regular showings November 7 through December 6, in addition to three showings at the New Orleans Fringe Festival, November 20-22. For more information, visit or

The Pharmacy Museum is located at 514 Chartres Street, and is open Tuesday to Saturday 10am-4pm. Their annual “Pharmacy Past and Present” Gala is happening on November 1. Visit for more information.

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