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David W. Parsley

The Haunting of Ambassador Jefferson, Act 1 [in work]

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Synopsis. Starts with an aged Thomas Jefferson witnessing reenactment of final moments in life of his friend, the duc de la Rochefoucauld, assassinated in the September Massacres of 1792, though an advocate and supporter of the French Revolution. This scene is jarringly interrupted by departure of all actors, except Jefferson flanked by his granddaughter and a slave boy, and stage crew entering the stage to remove associated props. Director and playwright discuss logistics of "first" scene, while a bewildered Jefferson remains where he is, coming around to engage in the discussion as the scene is about to be restarted. He and the children are awaiting the arrival of a contractor who is to meet them at the proposed site for the University of Virginia, the campus of which Jefferson is designing. When the ghost of Jefferson's wife, Martha, appears, he sends the two children away. A succession of ghostly visitations ensues, including an old teacher from his youth, Thomas Paine, and George Washington, ending with an encounter with the shade of James Hemings, Jefferson's former slave and freedman. The conversation and harrowing ending of that last encounter, prompt Jefferson to close the act by announcing commencement of a recollection of scenes from the final phase of his French embassage. More conversation between director, playwright, and actor (Jefferson), to close action.


previously unpublished

© 2015 David W. Parsley

Parsley Poetry Collection

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