In this ensemble tour de force commissioned by Lexington Children's Theatre, four actors—regardless of their own age, gender or ethnicity—take turns playing Abraham Lincoln and important people in his Kentucky childhood, Indiana youth, and Illinois and D.C. adulthood. The play celebrates Lincoln's life through his own words and those of people who knew him. Three thematic strands run throughout selected material: First is the difficulty of fully knowing, or "keeping," the man himself. Wise, friendly, kind and funny, a practical joker and a masterful storyteller, Lincoln was also ambitious and given to melancholia. He kept much of his life, particularly his youth, deeply private. Even those who knew him well differed in their interpretations of what they heard and saw. Second is the importance of "keeping" this great man's unique character and the ideals he embodied. In his words, work and life, Abraham Lincoln stood for democracy—the right of a people to govern themselves. He remains a shining symbol of our unique American experiment. He prods and inspires us to embrace our unlimited potential, face up to our challenges, and shoulder our responsibilities. Finally, there is the fascinating story of the son of poor, uneducated parents who transformed himself into an eloquent orator, a skillful leader, and, ultimately, president of the United States of America. What drove him? What inspired him? What fed and supported his remarkable journey? Though we can never fully know the answers to those questions, we "keep" Mr. Lincoln by continuing to explore them. This play is dedicated to doing just that.
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