Civil War Theater

Feet First | 248

Friday, 13 May

Feet First | 248

City Lit Theater in Chicago has launched an interesting undertaking to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. Over the course of five theater seasons, they’ll produce a Civil War-themed play. They kicked-off the project this spring with a production of The Copperhead, a drama set in rural Illinois, the first act during 1861-3 and the second act in 1903. It was written in 1918 by Augustus Thomas, one of the more successful playwrites of his day who’s all but forgotten now.

I was curious to not only see a play set during a period of history I’m very interested in, but to see a popular play from the early 20th-century. It was a rewarding theater experience. I was surprised by how contemporary it sounded, free (for the most part) of any of the theatricality or melodrama I’d normally associate with this time period. The acting was strong, and while I thought the ending tied-up a bit too neatly, it was enjoyable.

I’ll definitely be marking my calendar for City Lit’s future Civil War productions, including an adaptation of one of my favorite book, Confederates in the Attic by Tony Horwitz.

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