The Discovery of Jeanne Baret, Feldman realized Baret’s story was a lot more complicated than initially appeared.“We don’t have anything that exists from her, we don’t actually know what her experience was or what her motivations were, or how she identified.

A lot of different relationships to gender, a lot of different reasons for the choices that she made, are possible. But we only have four records that have survived history, from four men who knew her — [and they] contradict each other.”That made the challenge of how to write about Baret that much more interesting to Feldman. “As a playwright, I feel a hunger for trying to figure out how to connect to and unearth the buried stories of our marginalized ancestors, anyone whose story has been snuffed out,” she says, adding that, more often than not, we’re talking “women, queers, nonwhite anybodys.”“The fact that her voice and her perspective and her identity are missing, ‘How could I tell a story about this person?’”The answer can be found in Thrive, Or What You Will, a finalist this year for the Lambda Literary Prize for LGBTQ Drama and the winner in 2020 of the Shakespeare’s New Contemporaries project of the American Shakespeare Center, located in Virginia’s beautiful Shenandoah Valley, which is currently presenting the world premiere production of the show in rep with Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night.Both productions feature the same six-person cast with a lot of intentional overlap.