Thomas Jefferson and Edgar Allan Poe Play MONTICELLO to Make World Premiere
Aurora Theatre Works, Inc., presents the world premiere of Thomas H. Geoghegan's Monticello, directed by Anthony Irons. Based on historical fact, Monticello is a fictional examination of what happens when the country's founding father and freedom architect realizes that the whole republican experiment - America - might have turned out to be a mistake.
Written two years ago, the play has become especially resonant in today's political climate, and in the cultural zeitgeist, including a recent Ancestry.com campaign about Jefferson's descendants, and a controversy when NPR tweeted the entirety of the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, which the network has publically shared for the past 29 years. Some thought America's founding document was spam or propaganda.
Geoghegan says that Jefferson was a prophet of today's resistance, and that his writings are the primer for progressive action. "People should be reading the writing of the architect of democracy," he said. His "why now" statement is below.
In Monticello, a dying Thomas Jefferson, his estate in debt and his family in chaos, is confronted with a grim choice: appease the wealthy interests of the young country by affirming that the Declaration of Independence does not apply to enslaved people, or cement his legacy and the freedom of generations of black Americans by denouncing the inhuman institution on which the fragile economy depends. To resolve this dilemma, Jefferson turns to a new University of Virginia student burgeoning poet, Edgar Allan Poe. Together, they examine the challenges of writing truth to power, the out-sized power of government-orchestrated fear, the paradox of freedom in America, and what Jefferson may have confided to the young Poe on an eerie 1826 July night. The show runs about two hours with one intermission, and is for ages 13 and up.
August 3-September 3, 2017
Opening is Sunday, August 6 at 3 p.m.
Previews are August 3, 4 and 5 at 8 p.m.
Run is Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 3 p.m.
Talkbacks with Geoghegan follow every Sunday matinee
$20 for regular tickets; $10/half price student rush tickets available at door (with college ID)
CAST: Jeff Kurysz (student Edgar Allan Poe), Marty Lodge (former president Thomas Jefferson), Lori McClain (Martha Jefferson, Tom's daughter), TaRon Patton (enslaved woman Sally Hemings), Anji White (Abby, enslaved woman of Haitian descent). TBA: Frederic, enslaved man related to Sally Hemings, Jefferson's nephew Randolph, UVA President Mr. Potts.
Anthony Irons (Director), Razor Wintercastle (Stage Manager), Carl Ulazek (Set Design),
Richard Norwood (Light Design), Devonte Washington (Sound Design), Jos Banks (Costumer Design), Jeremiah Barr (Prop Design), Kimelia Carter (Warbrobe), and J'qkwan Smith (Assistant Sound Design).
Illustration by Victor Juhasz