DORSET -- The Dorset Playhouse, in partnership with Hildene and the Dorset Theatre Festival, presents a reading of "The Rivalry," a play that illuminates the truth of the saying "Never doubt the power of words," on Tuesday, Aug. 21, at 6:30 p.m. Former Vermont Gov. Madeleine Kunin will be one of the readers.
This program is free and open to the public, but reserved tickets are recommended. A reception will follow in the Gallery Café.
The play, masterfully written by award winning playwright, Norman Corwin, debuted in 1959, dramatizing the historic Lincoln vs. Douglas debates of 1858. These seven debates pitted Abraham Lincoln, aspiring to become a senator, against incumbent Illinois Senator, Stephen Douglas.
The dialogue between the two charismatic and civically minded politicians provides a template for a spirited discussion of timely contemporary issues. While Lincoln and Douglas focused on the most controversial issues of their day, including states’ rights, slavery and the original intent of the Constitution.
"This adaptation of ‘The Rivalry,’ condensed to 50 minutes, has a decidedly 21st century feel, inviting the audience to focus on the words rather than the characters," Stephanie Moffett-Hynds, Hildene programming director, said in supplied material.
The readers are as much all-stars as the characters they will be reading: Kunin, reading the part of Stephen Douglas’s young and insightful wife, Adele. It is through Adele’s eyes that the audience views the debates. Abraham Lincoln is read by Rabbi Michael Cohen and Stuart Comstock-Gay reads Senator Stephen Douglas.
During the second part of the evening, Jane Lindholm, Vermont Public Radio host of "Vermont Edition," will moderate the interactive discussion between the panel and the audience.
Kunin was the first woman elected to that office, serving from 1985 to 1991. Rabbi Cohen is Rabbi Emeritus of Israel Congregation of Manchester and director of Strategic Partnerships for Friends of Arava Institute for Environmental Studies. Comstock-Gay is president and CEO of the Vermont Community Foundation.
To reserve a seat and for information call 802-867-2223 or visit dorsettheatrefestival.org.