Friday, June 13, 2008
A (bad) night at the opera.
My initial reaction to the banner in Amherst town center hyping the play “Our American Cousin” was not overly favorable (besides wondering why a Northampton affair gets subsidized space in Amherst).
For you non-history types, President Lincoln was watching it the night John Wilkes Booth placed a 44-caliber derringer just above his left ear and pulled the trigger. As a helpful reminder, the advertising flacks even placed a portrait of Lincoln on the banner.
Leaping from the private box about 11 feet to the stage Booth broke his leg. Unaware of the assassination, Dr. Samuel Mudd treated Booth’s injury the next day and now the term “your name is Mudd” denotes strong disapproval. As in, our current President may as well be ‘Mudd’.
Not just individuals, but an entire city can suffer the stigma as well. A generation of Americans blamed the city of Dallas for that awful day in late November 1963. And the assassination of his brother Bobby five years later in the pantry of the Ambassador Hotel started the downward spiral of that once Grand establishment.
When I uploaded on Blogger the photo I snapped from my bicycle seat and then clicked on it to enlarge, I noticed the URL for the play.
Ahhh…so it’s not the original comedy as presented that nefarious night in Washington, D.C. Just an artistic interpretation of what could have transpired (immediately after the greatest President in US history was shot point blank in the brain).
Okay, I’ll still pass.