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Ben Butler

Ben Butler
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Author: Richard Strand
Publisher: Dramatists Play Service
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 70
Pub. Date: 2017
ISBN-10: 082223632X
ISBN-13: 9780822236320
Cast Size: 5 women, 1 man

About the Play:

Ben Butler is a full-length historical drama by Richard Strand. When three runaway slaves demand sanctuary at a Union Army fort, the General in charge is faced with an impossible moral dilemma: follow the letter of the law, or make a game-changing move that could alter the course of US history?

Ben Butler is set in the early days of the Civil War. Shortly after Virginia seceded from the Union three runaway slaves fled across the river to Fort Monroe, run by the newly arrived Major General in the Union Army, Benjamin Butler, a businessman and defense lawyer from Boston. The law of the United States says that the escaped slave who has demanded to see him must be returned to his owner. But this this extremely singular individual – one Shepard Mallory – makes quite a powerful case for himself. This historical moment would change the course of the war as Butler made the legal decision to keep southern runaways free from their slave owners in the confederacy. Based on true occurrences that happened to Benjamin Butler who graduated from Colby College in Maine in 1838, and was admitted to the Massachusetts Bar in 1840. During part of the Civil War, he commanded the Union outpost Fort Monroe. A combination of comedy, biography, and historical drama, Ben Butler takes a thought-provoking look at a key decision in the Civil War, and explores the timeless questions surrounding social conscience, individual responsibility, and the politics of race in America.

Ben Butler premiered in 2014 at New Jersey Repertory in Long Branch, New Jersey. Since then the play had regional premieres Off-Broadway at 59E59 in 2016 and at professional theatres across the US and has been mounted by community theatres.

Cast: 5 women, 1 man

What people say:

"[Ben Butler is] part comedy, part historical drama and part biography, often all at once…Just call it splendid…The beauty of the script…is how it approaches thorny topics. In short, it's a hoot. Rather than dry exposition or long-winded discussions, these men use wordplay that is by turns sarcastic, droll and witty…[Strand's] comic voice is…clever without being glib, meaningful without being pretentious. It's a funny and impressive mixture." — New York Times

"…simultaneously thought-provoking and sidesplitting." —

"…an extraordinary, artful script…spirited, intense, often humorous dialogue makes this show completely captivating…a significant piece of theater and a timeless exploration of social conscience and individual responsibility." —

About the Playwright:

Richard Strand is an American playwright and educator. He is a professor, technical director, and set designer at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, California, where he teaches Stagecraft, History of Theater, and Playwriting.