Duende’s new play to open at the Red Church, Sonora
ABOLITION tells the story of two friends, their accomplishments and their conflicts, during the tumultuous decade leading up to the Civil War. One of the friends is John Brown – he whose “body lies a-mouldering in the grave” – who led the raid on Harper’s Ferry, Virginia, a major stepping stone toward the War. The other is Frederick Douglass who was born a slave in Maryland, escaped to freedom at age 20, and became an important intellectual, journalist, political maven, and arguably the greatest American orator of the Nineteenth Century. The bond and the strife between these two men is explored in an intimate re-imagination of this crucial era in our fraught history.
Duende co-founder and Artistic Director Tom Maguire plays Brown, the role of Douglass is taken by Levi Lowe, Tuolumne County’s two-time State Champion in the annual Poetry Out Loud competition.
July 26 – August 11, 2018
St. James Episcopal Church
42 Snell St, Sonora, CA 95370
Thursday, Friday at 7 pm (doors open at 6:30 pm)
Saturday at 2 pm (doors open at 1:30 pm)
Tickets: $10 high school / $20 adult
Available at The Mountain Bookshop and St. James Episcopal Church
Call (209) 532-1580 for more information
Author’s note on ABOLITION and two historic churches
Today it is called St. John’s Congregational Church in Springfield, Massachusetts. But back in the 1840’s, when it was new, the free Black people who founded it called it simply the Free Church. When the white abolitionist John Brown moved his wool distributing business to Springfield in March, 1846, he joined the Free Church. It was there that Brown met Frederick Douglass in November of 1847. That meeting is the subject of the first scene of my play ABOLITION. The current St. John’s Congregational Church proudly displays the Bible that John Brown bestowed upon it when he moved to his farm in remote North Elba, NewYork in the Spring of 1849. I am very happy that my play will first be performed in another historic church, albeit one that was not built until 1859.
Historical information and playwright’s notes
Illustration by Zoe McDonnell.