American Theater Critics Association Names six finalists (with two from Chicago) for new play award including “Butler,” by Richard Strand and “Veils,” by Tom Coash
“Butler,” by Richard Strand: What starts as a droll comedy of words evolves into a fascinating retelling of a true incident that undermined a century of government-sanctioned slavery. Strand depicts the prickly interaction between a contentious but brilliant escaped slave and a taciturn lawyer recently appointed as a Union Army major general. Amid wry comedic interplay between the protagonists and with an ever-closing life-or-death deadline approaching, the title character finds an ingenious way to turn the official view of slaves as property into a legal way of giving sanctuary and eventually providing freedom to thousands of runaways. The play received its world premiere at the New Jersey Repertory Company in June 2014.
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