By David J. Kent
Friday, June 4, 2021
Could John Wilkes Booth have been stopped?
That question is the basis for the play One Destiny. And Ford's Theatre is giving everyone a fresh chance to see it, for free!
The 40-minute play is written by Richard Hellesen. It was a popular attraction at Ford's Theatre several years ago and has been performed there and elsewhere, including the White House, a thousand times. One Destiny explores the events surrounding the assassination of Abraham Lincoln from the perspectives of those in the theatre that night. The two lead characters are Harry Hawk, actor in Our American Cousin, the comedy Lincoln was there to see that night, and Harry Ford, the owner of the theatre.
Actors Stephen F. Schmidt and Michael Bunce portray the two main characters, revisiting the events and emotions of April 14, 1865. They reconstruct the sequence of events while they grapple with the guilt of not being able to stop the assassination. Could they have saved the President? The actors have done their research to get a feel for the actors, crew, and staff of the theatre. Books like James Swanson's Manhunt, Michael Kauffman's American Brutus, and more recently, Thomas Bogar's Backstage at the Lincoln Assassination have been immensely helpful in bringing the theatre participants to life as they contemplate the death of the sixteenth president.
Because of COVID, Ford's Theatre will not be bringing the production to the stage this spring, but they are making a filmed performance of the play available online. There is no cost but you need to register. Once registered, you'll have until June 13th to watch it free on YouTube.
Register here: https://www.fords.org/visit/one-destiny/
[Note: Much of the information for this post came from a the Ford's Theatre Facebook page, website, and a blog by Danny Dubin that can be found here: https://www.fords.org/blog/post/exploring-april-1865-with-the-one-destiny-cast/]
[Photo credit: Gary Erskine, found at the Dubin link above]