St. Bonaventure Oratory
1625 Diversey Parkway, Chicago
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Monticello: A Play in Two Acts is written and produced by writer, labor lawyer and progressive activist Thomas Geoghegan. Please consider donating to his newest project.
Friends, theatre lovers, patriots and history buffs,
I wrote a play about a meeting that might have occurred between Thomas Jefferson and Edgar Allan Poe. And I need your help in making it a success. We hope to raise $10,000 to offset costs of production. Any amount you can contribute would be much appreciated. And of course, I encourage you to come see the play when it goes live in August.
Why this play - now?
To me, it's a chance to let Jefferson be Jefferson - who once and still does give voice to "The Resistance," not just in the Declaration but in his battle with royalists and the Hamilton party throughout his life.
The play - fictional, indeed, at times a comedy - has a premise in historical fact. Jefferson used to invite students from the University of Virginia to dine with him at Monticello. In 1826, the last year of his life, Edgar Allan Poe enrolled as a student and may have gone up to dine at Monticello. In this play Jefferson is in debt, Monticello is at risk, and Jefferson confronts a grim choice: get a loan from the General Assembly if he placates the slaveholders that he did not mean the Declaration to apply to slaves, or give up the loan and use the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration to denounce the evil institution on which the state and his household depends.
Daughter Martha Jefferson enlists the gifted young Poe on the occasion of his visit to help her father draft a statement for July 4, 1826 that will mollify everyone. And in the course of the play the young Poe learns that Monticello itself is a kind of House of Usher.
Why donate to a play - now?
It’s not a cheap proposition to put on a play, and I doubt any theatre company would take a chance on an odd topic written by a person like me. We’ll be selling tickets to the show, but I’m keeping the ticket price low ($20!) to keep it accessible to as many people as possible. As a result, I really need help from you to make this production come to life.
As I wrote this play I thought: Poor Jefferson could have used GoFundMe back in 1826. Since he can't do it to save his Monticello, I hope you will do it to help save mine.