SMF - Just Installed!
Username  
Password
Pages: [1]
  Print  
Author Topic: new play about Boston Corbett  (Read 1550 times)
Steven G. Miller
Moderator
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 752



View Profile
« on: June 07, 2011, 06:08:09 AM »

"Blessed Assurance: The Story of Boston Corbett, Slayer of Booth," by Randall Colburn, directed by Greg Werstler, will debut at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont, Chicago IL
June 19th, 25th and July 1, 2011. The online promo for it reads, "John Wilkes Booth’s death in a burning barn came courtesy of Boston Corbett, a mercury-addled, born-again Christian who claimed he was ordered by the Almighty to pull the trigger. But when a young lawyer suggests that Booth may be living in Texas, and that the victim was a stranger, Boston’s divine mandate is called into question. Blessed Assurance was developed through a Downstage Left residency in the Spring of 2011."

Another description give other details: "John Wilkes Booth’s death in a burning barn came courtesy of Boston Corbett, a mercury-addled, born-again Christian who claimed he was ordered by the Almighty to pull the trigger. But when a young lawyer suggests that Booth may be living in Texas, and that the victim was a stranger, Boston’s divine mandate is called into question. With an abused local boy in tow, Boston sets off on a journey to discover the truth and come face-to-face with his destiny."

Schedule found on line at https://www.theaterwit.org/tickets/productions/38/performances
I emailed the playwright and he revealed that as of this point in the development of the production, it is a reading, not a fully costumed performance.

Mr. Dave Taylor and I are in discussion about how to co-ordinate a viewing.
Logged
Randal
Administrator
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 3389



View Profile
« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2011, 08:15:37 AM »

I think you both should go, and "muffle" Dave when he starts to point out inacuracies! Cheesy (you, Steve, are a lot more mature..ahem...older) Shocked
Logged

"It was a walking graveyard"
Dr. Modestino
Jr. Member
**
Posts: 79


Good at relieving Yankee paymasters of greenbacks


View Profile WWW
« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2011, 01:34:50 PM »

Wow, Betty, that's great!  Are we able to tag along?
Logged

"In battle, in the fullness of pride and strength, little recks the soldier whether the hissing bullet sings his sudden requiem or the cords of life are severed by the sharp steel."  Seargent Smith Prentiss, 1847
Roger Norton
Guest
« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2011, 01:37:20 PM »

I will second Dr. M. --> that's great, Betty! I will be most interested in hearing how that husband and wife playing Mary Surratt and John Lloyd do!
Logged
Dr. Modestino
Jr. Member
**
Posts: 79


Good at relieving Yankee paymasters of greenbacks


View Profile WWW
« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2011, 01:40:11 PM »

It's almost a straight shot up 81!
Logged

"In battle, in the fullness of pride and strength, little recks the soldier whether the hissing bullet sings his sudden requiem or the cords of life are severed by the sharp steel."  Seargent Smith Prentiss, 1847
Dr. Modestino
Jr. Member
**
Posts: 79


Good at relieving Yankee paymasters of greenbacks


View Profile WWW
« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2011, 02:35:43 PM »

Come on Laurie, join us!
Logged

"In battle, in the fullness of pride and strength, little recks the soldier whether the hissing bullet sings his sudden requiem or the cords of life are severed by the sharp steel."  Seargent Smith Prentiss, 1847
Steven G. Miller
Moderator
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 752



View Profile
« Reply #6 on: June 07, 2011, 03:33:36 PM »

Hmm, from the description I suspect that the play is set in Corbett's later years and that Mrs. Surratt is long since gone and that Lloyd had drunk himself into the grave. I suppose that the only time Corbett and Mrs. Surratt set eyes on each other was when he testified at the Trial of the Conspirators.

He probably wouldn't have bothered with Lloyd; after all, Corbett was a teatotaler and Lloyd was probably beyond salvation.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2011, 05:26:09 PM by Steven G. Miller » Logged
Steven G. Miller
Moderator
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 752



View Profile
« Reply #7 on: June 11, 2011, 11:39:06 AM »

By the way, there was a one-man Corbett play staged in several Kansas cities a few years ago. It was called, "Boston's Final Borning," I exchanged email and snail mail messages with the playwrite, Ron Willis. I hope it gets presented again soon.
« Last Edit: July 03, 2011, 06:46:31 AM by Steven G. Miller » Logged
Steven G. Miller
Moderator
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 752



View Profile
« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2011, 09:17:46 PM »

Our own dynamic duo, Lindsey Horn and Dave Taylor, joined Yerz Trooly Friday night in the Belmont Street Theater District of Chicago to attend a performance of "Blessed Assurance".  I thought it was terrifically good and had some powerful moments in it. The playwright, Randall Colburn, presented a thoroughly enchanting play about Corbett's later life.

The action mostly takes place in Kansas and Texas (oh, oh, that's a spoiler) in 1880. Corbett is living in the dugout near Concordia, Kansas, splitting his time between hard scrabble farming, tending to a herd of sheep, and giving religious schooling to Donald, the teenage son of a neighbor. He is visited by a Memphis-based lawyer (see where this is going, don't cha?) who is curious to know the circumstances of the supposed death of Booth fifteen years before. The attorney, Finis Bates, relates that he had a client in Granbury, Texas, eight years before who thought he was at death's door and confessed to Bates that he was really Lincoln's killer. Bates dismissed it at the time, but has since come to question whether it might be true after all. He has long-since lost touch with the man, John St. Helen, and happened to be traveling through northern Kansas when he learned that a witness to the shooting was living there. He ran into Donald in town and wrangled an invitation to the farm. Corbett firmly stated that the shooting of the assassin was divinely inspired and does not take kindly to being questioned about whether he fulfilled the instructions of God.

Bates questions Corbett briefly and was soon sent packing, but the lawyer had sewn a seed of doubt. Corbett and Donald, who by now had been all but abandoned by his widowed father, struggle with whether Bos’ should begin a quest to seek out the phantom St. Helen and finish the job that might have not gotten done in 1865.
John St. Helen is a Trickster character in the play, chortling over the question of is he really Booth or is he not. Corbett’s black versus white world view has to deal with this ambiguity.

Colburn explores some large topics in the play: sacrifice versus duty, religious certainty versus obsession bordering on insanity, the temptations of the flesh versus the promise of heaven, the nature of friendship, the obligations of fatherhood and the nature of abuse, and love in this world or love in the hereafter.  A recurring thread in the play is the phrase, “Providence directed my hand,” and Corbett comes back to this point in several different ways throughout the performance.

A particularly powerful scene is the one where Corbett  is baptized and the cast sings the hymn that gives the play its title. (Boothie aside:  the song, “Blessed Assurance” was co-written by Phoebe Palmer Knapp. When he lived in New Jersey, Corbett and her husband organized revival meetings together.  So the song was contemporary and likely well-known by Rev. Corbett.)

After all, if Corbett failed to kill the real Booth at Garrett’s farm did he make a terrible mistake, did he violate the instructions of God, or is this a test of his faith?  The solid character of Boston Corbett has to sort this out and one of the threads of the play is the growth of the youngster, Donald, who is becoming a grownup, too.
Lindsey's flight to Midway was only delayed by a little, and Dave was able to scoop her up and make it into the city – devilishly close to Wrigley Field were the Cubs were playing their “cross-town rivals” the White Sox. And I dashed in from the Northwest Suburbs through Friday traffic, threading my way through once-familiar streets, to the theater. (Thank you, valet parking!!)

Dr. Dave was on his best behavior and the three of us only noted one glaring error in the play: the date of Booth's killing was given as April 23rd, not the 26th. The playwright, who is still honing the script. We Three Boothies had a few minutes of private conversation with the author afterward and he promised to correct this.


It was a very enjoyable evening, thanks to an entertaining play and good company.
« Last Edit: July 03, 2011, 07:02:08 AM by Steven G. Miller » Logged
Dave Taylor
Guest
« Reply #9 on: July 04, 2011, 10:07:28 PM »

I concur with Mr. Miller on every point.  I found the premise to be an interesting one and Boston's quest to fulfill his destiny provided many opportunities to explore his devotion and madness. 

My favorite part, as Steve mentioned, was when Boston confronts St. Helen for the second time (this time when St. Helen is sober).  There is a beautiful interchange in which Boston adamantly declares St. Helen to be Booth, practically commanding him to be Booth so he can fulfill his destiny.  Even at gunpoint, St. Helen seeks to understand Boston.  He continually changes his tune claiming to be Booth and then denying it, all while prodding Boston.  He shows Boston two lives, one of an assassin and one of a drunken fraud, challenging Boston's purpose. 

I know I enjoyed the play and the company couldn't have been better.
Logged
Conspirator9
Guest
« Reply #10 on: July 06, 2011, 11:16:09 AM »

Hey!  I behaved too! (I think)  It was just hard to watch the Corbett actor kiss a girl about my age!  Anyway, I thought Stever's breakdown of the play is spot on.  I wasn't crazy about the non-lineal timeline of the first act.  It seemed to jump around a bit too much.  But it also could have been harder to follow bc there were no scene changes or costumes for the actors.  The second act was much better, especially the confrontation between Corbett and St. Helen, as Dave already described.  Anyone who ever has a chance should go see it.
Logged
emma1231
Newbie
*
Posts: 29


View Profile
« Reply #11 on: November 12, 2011, 10:47:54 AM »

Thanx for providing us with reviews about the Corbett play, guys.   Wish I could have seen it!
     How many of you have seen a production of Sondheim's "Assassins"?   Who liked it (for what it was) and who thought it stunk.   I have seen it twice --  the original production years ago, that starred Victor Garber, and a Long Island theater production about four years ago.    I enjoyed them both very much, and still marvel at how such a play could have been written and mounted.      I have only seen a couple of Sondheim shows.   They are very strange, and you either love him or hate him. I do think that "Assassins" enjoys its continued life at colleges and small theatres only because it's Sondheim, and he has a tremendous cult following.     
Logged
Roger Norton
Guest
« Reply #12 on: November 12, 2011, 12:42:15 PM »

Earlier this week I received an e-mail about Assassins playing on the campus of the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks. The show is running November 15-19 at the UND Burtness Theatre.

Here's a photo of Daniel Dutot who plays John Wilkes Booth in the production:

Logged
Dave Taylor
Guest
« Reply #13 on: November 12, 2011, 12:44:41 PM »

Assassins was what really got me into the Lincoln assassination.  I was in theatre in high school and a buddy of mine lent me the soundtrack to listen to.  I immediately wanted to learn more about these people I knew nothing (Czolgosz) or little (Booth) about.  For a while I researched all of them before I realized how fascinating Booth's saga was.  I was able to see a production of Assassins several years back when a Chicago community theatre put it on.  It was actually at the same theatre that we saw this Corbett play at.  I loved it.  I've been waiting for an opportunity to see it again and the time has come.  There's a community college in Decatur, IL putting it on this weekend and next weekend.  Lindsey and I are going to catch their last performance on our way to visit Springfield next weekend.  We'll see how they do.
Logged
Steven G. Miller
Moderator
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 752



View Profile
« Reply #14 on: November 12, 2011, 03:12:09 PM »

Haven't seen "Assassins" on stage, but I'm familiar with the sound track.
Logged
Pages: [1]
  Print  
 
Jump to: