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5 Performances ONLY!!
May 7, 14, 17 @ 7:30pm
May 8, 15 @ 2:00pm
"I don't suppose you have a copy of Shakespeare or the Bible?" In the dead of night, next to a battlefield during the Civil War, this was the question a sleepless Abraham Lincoln asked his aide.
"He used the bard to win a court case, found solace in the speeches when his son Willie died, and carried a volume of Shakespeare’s plays with him around the White House, frequently reading aloud to family and staff [at all hours of the day and night]" (c-span.org).
President Lincoln was not only an avid reader of and frequent audience member for the plays of William Shakespeare, but also kept company and corresponded with Shakespearean actors, even to the point of debating an occasional stage interpretation.
But most telling were his private and haunting reflections about betrayal, the guilt of leaders for bloodshed in war, grief for loss, and the dangers of power that so often found expression in his many conversations about such plays as Julius Caesar, Henry V, and, especially, Macbeth.
Lincoln's Shakespeare presents a quartet of actors who weave historically-documented anecdotes and words of the President with the speeches of Shakespeare to which he most often spoke referred and related. From Falstaff to Iago, Brutus to Claudius, Hamlet to Macbeth and beyond, this staged-reading chautauqua--in turns funny, ironic, and tragic--is most of all a profoundly moving reminder of the soul-nourishing legacy of Shakespeare's understanding of the human heart. And it's an insight into the great, empathic heart and imagination of the man who may well be the most humbly-thoughtful and courageously-noble American leader.
BSB's talented cast of company members for this production includes Steve Miller, Charleen Willoughby, Brent Spencer, and MaryBeth Adams. Directed by Cathy Kurz.
*This program was originally part of the series "Mystic Chords of Memory: Abraham Lincoln and the Performing Arts” presented by New York Public Library for the Performing Arts for the bicentennial of President Lincoln’s birth in 2009. Lincoln historian Harold Holzer's research is the source of the material.