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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Rivalry @ Ford's Theatre (Opening Night Performance)

Full disclosure: my wife works for Ford's Theatre. I'll try to be honest here, but this is by no means an unbiased impression.

In a sort of encore of last season's Living Lincoln series, tonight Ford's Theatre opens a full production of The Rivalry: a three-person play centering on the debates between Stephen Douglas and Abraham Lincoln during their Illinois campaign for the U.S. Senate. (The third member of the trio is Douglas's wife, Adele.)

During Living Lincoln, the play was presented on Ford's stage as a reading. Three actors standing before three microphones. The inactive actor retreating slightly for each scene in which he or she did not appear. The austere presentation effectively highlighted the prose of the reknowned oratorial combatants. Such that even without staging, lighting, or costume, the play retained much of its intended effect.

The two strongest performers from the Living Lincoln series - in the roles of Adele and Stephen Douglas - reprise their roles in the full production. I look forward to seeing what each actor - including the new Lincoln - can do with their roles backed by a full production.

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