Wednesday, Jan. 16, at 7:30 pm, Generic Theater reads Ben Butler by Richard Strand. A historic Civil War incident is the focus of this funny and dramatic play, to be read at Players’ Ring, 105 Marcy Street. Generic Theater’s monthly play-readings are free and open to the public.
Ben Butler, born in New Hampshire, raised in Lowell, was a lawyer and Union general, assigned as commander of Fort Monroe, VA, just as that state seceded. In the play, three enslaved men arrive seeking sanctuary and throwing Butler into a dilemma or whether or not to honor the law and return them – to the enemy. His decision, some say, affected the course of the war.
Despite the serious subject matter, the play is spiked with wit. The New York Times, in a review of the premiere in 2014, notes it is “clever without being glib, meaningful without being pretentious. It’s a funny and impressive mixture…. Splendid… a hoot.”
The Jan. 16 performance features actors Roland Goodbody, Helen Brock, Kevin Wade Mitchell and Peter Michaud, with Cathy Wolff reading stage directions.
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