Drama. By Dudley Saunders Sr.
Cast: 5m., 2w. with doubling, or up to 17 (11m., 6w.) This play is a powerful and entertaining weaving of history and dramatic imagining about Abraham Lincoln's full and challenging life. At 21 years old, Abraham Lincoln practices his first public speech for the critters in the Indiana woods. His memories call to him and we are cast back to a day in his childhood when he encounters a runaway slave being pursued by a bounty hunter. Even at the tender age of 8, Abe speaks up for slaves and against slavery. With a father always wanting to move on to "something better," Abe, Sarah and their mother, Nancy, experience hard living. Nancy loves and supports them, but leaves them too soon in death from milk fever. Their father, Thomas, soon travels back to Kentucky to marry again, and leaves Abe and Sarah, now ages 9 and 11, on their own for several weeks in winter. While alone at the cabin, Abe and Sarah give food and a blanket to a runaway slave passing through. When Thomas returns with new wife, Sarah Bush Lincoln, life becomes considerably better for Abe and Sarah. As a young adult, Abe travels to New Orleans where he witnesses a slave auction block. Horrified at how people are sold like cattle, he vows to do something to change it. While away, his beloved sister, Sarah, dies giving birth, and his father has decided to move again, this time to Illinois. Despite Thomas' pleading, Abe refuses to go with him saying that he's got to stay put and make a life where he is. Stepmother Sarah encourages Abe to follow his dream of speaking and politics as the play ends as it began, with Abe practicing a speech in the Indiana woods. Flexible staging. Period costumes 1778-1831. Approximate running time: 75 minutes.