Dallas — Second Thought Theatre is currently closing its 2014 season with the world premiere of Booth, written by Steven Walters from a story by Erik Archilla and Walters. The play, which received a $40,000 grant from a 2013 Donna Wilhelm Family New Works Fund, via TACA, tells the story of John Wilkes Booth, Abraham Lincoln's assassin. It runs through June 14 at Bryant Hall on the Kalita Humphreys Theater campus.
The play is the result of years of research about Booth, in what began as a class project when Walters and Archilla were students at Baylor University, before Walters co-founded STT in Dallas. The characters are based on real-life people, including members of Lincoln's staff, law officials, and theater folk that Booth—a renowned actor, although not as acclaimed as his brother Edwin—worked with. The play chronicles the events leading up to Lincoln’s murder and the search to bring his assassin to justice, "intertwined in ways that bring new light to the conspiracy and new depth to the man everyone knows the name of, but few know very much about."
Some of the dialogue comes from court transcripts and Booth's writings, and there are parallels to Shakespeare plays Julius Casear and Hamlet.
With this post, TheaterJones continues an ongoing video series, mostly filmed, edited by and starring Montgomery Sutton, who plays Booth, reading from the assassin's letters (not all of these passages are in the play). Subsequent entries will appear on Mondays throughout the run of the play.
About this week's letter: In 1881, Edwin Booth wrote this letter in reply to Nahum Capen, an autograph collector that had inquired about Edwin's personal experiences with his brother John. The video features Frank Mosley (who plays Edwin Booth in the play), is directed and features music by Ian Ferguson, and was shot and edited by Montgomery Sutton.
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» See our review of Booth here