Appomattox

Christopher Hampton
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ISBN 9780571309115 Format N/A
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About Book

4th March, 1865: On the night of his second inauguration, a few weeks before his assassination, Abraham Lincoln meets the veteran black abolitionist Frederick Douglass in the White House to discuss the prospect of extending the vote to black men who have served in the soon to be victorious Union armies.

4th March, 1965: In the White House, Lyndon Johnson, anxious to introduce a new Voting Rights Act, is briefed by his sinister and 'unfirable' FBI director, J. Edgar Hoover, on the imminent Selma to Montgomery march, led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.. It is a demonstration prompted by a state trooper's murder of the young activist Jimmie Lee Jackson, in Marion, Alabama, following a rally in support of voter registration in Perry County.

In his ambitious new play, commissioned by the Guthrie Theater, Minneapolis as the centrepiece of a retrospective of his plays and films, Christopher Hampton traces a line which runs from the last days of a brutal Civil War to the high-water mark of the Civil Rights movement and on, all the way to the present day; and considers the agonisingly slow healing of a wound, universal, but especially deep and painful in America: racism.

Appomattox premiered at the McGuire Proscenium Stage in the Guthrie Theater on 5th October 2012.

  • About Christopher Hampton

    Christopher Hampton was born in the Azores in 1946. He wrote his first play, When Did You Last See My Mother? at the age of eighteen. Since then, his plays have included The PhilanthropistSavagesTales from HollywoodLes Liaisons DangereusesWhite Chameleon, The Talking Cure and Appomattox. He has translated plays by Ibsen, Molière, von Horváth, Chekhov, Florian Zeller (including The Father), Daniel Kehlman and Yasmina Reza (including Art and Life x 3). Musicals include Sunset Boulevard and Stephen Ward, both with Andrew Lloyd Webber and Don Black. His television work includes adaptations of The History Man and Hotel du Lac. His screenplays include The Honorary ConsulThe Good Father, Dangerous Liaisons, Mary Reilly, Total EclipseThe Quiet American, Carrington, The Secret Agent and Imagining Argentina, the last three of which he also directed, and A Dangerous Method, based on his play The Talking Cure. Appomattox was first presented on the McGuire Proscenium Stage of the Guthrie Theater, Minneapolis, USA, in September 2012 as the centrepiece of a major retrospective of his plays and films. It was subsequently turned into an opera by Philip Glass and premiered at the Kennedy Center, Washington in November 2014.

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