Monticello | Saint Bonaventure Church | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

Monticello Closing (Theater and Galleries) Member Picks The Short List (Theater) Image

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through Sept. 3 2017

Local labor attorney Thomas R. Geoghegan's play, receiving its world premiere from Aurora Theater Works, Inc., imagines a meeting between a dying Thomas Jefferson and a college-age Edgar Allen Poe on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence in 1826. In debt and despondent over the state of the nation, Jefferson is being pressured to buttress the institution of slavery by renouncing the equality of all men he championed in the Declaration. Complicating matters are Sally Hemings and other slaves on the property with whom the master is intimately involved. What does Poe have to do with any of this? Not much, and it doesn't help that the script is peppered with jokey references to his future classics like "The Raven." Geoghegan means his play as a call to action in another age of crisis but does his cause no favors by throwing together two important historical figures for an imaginary chat. The most affecting moment by far comes at the very end, when Sally Hemings reads the Declaration in full. —Dmitry Samarov

Price: $20

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