Abraham Lincoln's Ascension Into Heaven by Greg Minster


This Play is the copyright of the Author and must NOT be Performed without the Author's PRIOR consent


ABRAHAM LINCOLN: Referred to as 'LINCOLN'. A tall bearded man in
19th Century formal attire

MARY LINCOLN: A shorter, plump woman in Victorian dress

GEORGE McCLELLAN: A well-groomed man in U.S. Civil War general's

STEPHEN DOUGLAS: A shorter well-dressed man in 19th Century formal
WILLIE LINCOLN: A twelve year old boy in formal 19th Century boy's
TOM LINCOLN: A shorter, older man dressed in 19th Century farmer

SOLDIER: A young man in a tattered Union soldier uniform with
a badly torn pants leg.

EXTRAS (three): Men dressed in assorted 19th Century formal evening

VOICE OF OFF STAGE ACTOR: Low, booming voice

WINFIELD SCOTT: Older man, dressed in 19th Century formal attire

SIX UNION SOLDIERS: Dressed in Union civil war infantry uniforms

The Ford's Theater, Washington City.

April 14th, 1865


Scene 1

Ford's Theater

The play 'Our American Cousin' is nearing its completion

The stage is completely dark.

VOICE OF OFF STAGE ACTOR: You sockdologizing old man-trap!

A single, sharp pistol shot retorts

Following a short pause, a spotlight shines onto the middle of the stage

ABRAHAM LINCOLN stands under the spotlight. He stands with a slight wobble.

LINCOLN: What? The play stopped? What happened to the play? It must
be 10:30, and close to the final scene. But certainly we'll see
more acting before the ending. Did a light blow out? I cannot see a
thing! I can't hear anything either! What happened to the loud laughter I heard
just moments ago? I can understand stage lights blowing out, but why can't I
hear anything? Perhaps the lights blowing out affected my hearing. Could
that be it? Ah Regardless. What a play we've watched here tonight. I loved
that last line: 'you sockdologizing old man trap!' The audience laughter roared
like a thousand rolling train cars! So get the lights re-lit! On with the show!

Abraham turns to his right.

LINCOLN: Mary, my sweet wife. You came to the play with me tonight.
Now I can't see you in the darkness. Can you see anything? Mary?
Mary? Where did you go? What about our two guests that joined us in
the box seats this evening? Major Rathbone? Miss Harris? Please
speak up. Where are you two? Let's get the lights relit, and continue this
play! The stage crew moves too slowly. Has my General McClellan taken
over the stage crew? If he has, it might be next week before the performance
continues! I can't see or hear anything. Has the audience all left because of
the lights? Surely I would have heard their complaining. I'd hear them stumbling
and tripping in the smoke: These dry wooden floors would rumble like battle
drums! Wait just a moment. Miss Harris, wherever you are, I couldn't help
but see that you looked so strangely at me just a moment ago. Your eyes
focused on something behind me! You looked frightened. It was right before
the stage lights blew out. What did you see? What frightened you? Mary?
Hello! Anyone! Please answer me!




Scene 2

The balcony of the Ford's Theater

LINCOLN sits slumped back in a theater chair in the middle of the
stage. DR. LEALE and MRS. LINCOLN kneel next to the chair.

MARY LINCOLN: Please save my husband!

DR. LEALE: I'm Dr. Leale, surgeon in the Union Army. I'll do my
best, Mrs. Lincoln! I'll certainly do my best!
Let's move him to the floor!

The three EXTRAS enter the stage and help lift the president up from
his chair and lower him to the floor. He's placed on his back. DR.
LEALE spends time examining and probing the president's head. He
reaches behind the head.

DR. LEALE: His wound is mortal. It is impossible for him to recover.
We cannot take him to the White House. He would not survive the
carriage ride. We must find a bed nearby.

EXTRA #1: There's a boarding house across the street!

DR. LEALE: We'll carry him there. Guards, clear the passage!
We're bringing the president through!

The three EXTRAS pick up LINCOLN, and carry him off the stage. MRS.
LINCOLN continues to wail.




Scene 3

LINCOLN'S visions.

LINCOLN stands alone on the stage. A broad spotlight shows on him.
The rest of the stage remains dark.

LINCOLN: That's better. I can now see at least a short distance.
But why can't I see my wife and our guests in the box seats? Where
are my chair, the stage, the actors, and other theater patrons? I
still don't hear a thing!

LINCOLN pauses. He places his hand on his forehead.

LINCOLN: Hm Now that's odd. Very strange. For some unknown
reason, I feel a peculiar sense of contentment. Like I've just
completed an incredibly large task, and now it's time to rest.
Very odd. Lights go out, and I suddenly feel like I'm ready to turn
in after a long, satisfying day.
It's as though some form of spirit gently taps my ugly head and says
'good job, old boy, good job'. But while such feelings are all
well and good, I have absolutely no clue as to why I've so suddenly
come upon them!
As for now, I must return to my seat. I cannot stay here in this
strange bliss. After all, I'm Abraham Lincoln, president of a very
large and powerful, but badly wounded country. If ever a nation upon
this big planet needed leadership-it would be this nation, the
reunited United States of America.

The spotlight expands. A man stands at attention in the additional
light. He wears a heavily decorated Union general's uniform. He
has his back toward LINCOLN.

LINCOLN: My gosh! I finally see someone. I'd recognize that
profile anywhere. I'll speak to him: "So you're here too,
General McClellan-and with your back to me? No kidding. You always
turned your back toward your adversaries!"

GENERAL McCLELLAN turns around. He remains at attention.

LINCOLN: Handsome man, you've always been. I can see this war took
little toll on you, 'Little Mac'. Just like you took little toll
on the secessionists!
Either way, let's take this opportunity to talk to one another.
Let's admit that we possess different mindsets. For example: If a
fly were to buzz into this room right now, I'd quickly roll up a
newspaper, and swat the little pest. You, my friend, 'Little Mac',
'The Little Corporal of Unsought Fields', instead of swatting the
fly, you'd first spend time studying its little miniature flights.
You'd take notes and examine how long the little pest would sit
after landing.
Weapon preparation would come next. Swat with a newspaper? Well,
first you'd make sure it was an old newspaper. Of course, my
general, if after all such things occurred true to established form,
more flies would then flock into the room and we'd soon have a
larger number to deal with.

GENERAL McCLELLAN then turns and leaves the stage. SENATOR STEPHEN
DOUGLAS steps under the spotlight. He holds a white rose in front of
his chest.

LINCOLN: My oh my, Senator Douglas! You've also come to see me!
'Little Mac' just left. Both your visits bring a smile to my
famously melancholy face.
Now, I'm well aware that each of you would loved to have had my job.
In fact, you both spent good years feeling much more deserved of
holding this office. Well, let me assure you: While there may be just
the two of you that consider yourselves in such high manner coming
here and visiting me this evening, I must inform you, that across this
nation there are thousands upon thousands who would think your exact
same thoughts! All assuming without the slightest doubt that they
could fill this post better than me! You have in your ambitions and
extraordinarily lofty self-evaluations, a great deal of company!
Regardless, Stephen, I still carry with me the fine memories of our
debating tours. Remember the 'free for all' in Freeport? The crowd
loved it!

DOUGLAS: Yes, Abraham, but in the end, my good friend, you most
certainly carried the day! You won the final contest! In addition to
becoming president, you got the girl! How's Mrs. Lincoln doing?

LINCOLN: Fine. Although I'm not sure where she's gone to these
past few minutes.
So, why have you come to see me? Did you bring advice on how the stage
crew might get the theater lights relit? Little Mac said nothing at
all. I suppose he's still mad about all the advice I gave him
Generals can be very sensitive.
But you know what, Senator?

DOUGLAS: What, Mr. President?

LINCOLN: With all those who would prefer for this country their own
intellect verses my own, with all those who would criticize and pour
condescension on my every decision, with all those who, and God save
those poor souls whose appearance falls short, would be better looking
than me, have more luminous spirit than me, have a pedigree more
proper and eastern than my rail-splitting, hog wrestling, and country
dividing self-do you know what?


LINCOLN: It is I, Mr. Abraham Lincoln from Springfield, Illinois, via
Indiana and Kentucky, who at this moment actually occupies the office.
To that, I say so be it, and let matters unfold as they already have,
and will!

DOUGLAS: No doubt about that, sir.

LINCOLN: But Mr. Douglas, are you not dead? Did you not pass away
several years ago? I distinctly remember grieving for you! And why do
you hold that white rose?

DOUGLAS: Me, dead? Of course. I died several years ago. As for the
white rose, one receives such a present upon their entrance to heaven.

LINCOLN: I see, in your death, that you've kept your conversational
and forensics gifts!

DOUGLAS: Why thank you, Mr. President. And it's so nice to see you
again! You must be on your way here!

The senator, abruptly turned his head and stepped toward the door.




Scene 4

In a boarding house bedroom, across the street from the theater.

LINCOLN lays on a bed. DR. LEALE kneels next to the bed holding up

DR. LEALE: It's about 11:30. An hour since the shooting.
I should have known his speech from the White House balcony several
nights ago would be his last. His divine appearance signaled his soon
to come death. I must wonder, were those lights, in truth, really
reflecting off the White House? Could they instead have been the
spotlights of heaven shining down searching for him? The heavens,
after all, needed to prepare for its distinguished new resident at a
time when so many thousands have so recently rushed up there! Though
I've seen innumerable patients take on the face of peace that only
comes with death, I've not ever seen one glow before!

DR. LEALE, voice shaking, looks up and prays

DR. LEALE: Dear God, Though my young doctor's hands have learned
their lessons well, and hold their patient's head with stillness,
resolve, and professional calm, my heart, in truth, quakes and
shudders at these grievous happenings. I did not come to this place
tonight expecting such burden as this to befall me. But if you ask
that I guide this dying man from this side of the heavenly barriers so
he may soon join with you on your side, I count myself most blessed by
your confidence.
Sadly, I send him to you. We've loved him here on earth, and though
we still truly need him in our quest to rebuild and mend our torn
nation, if you decide to call him up to you now, then you shall most
certainly have him. I thank you God, and indeed the entire world
thanks you for letting us have this man, certainly one of your best,
for his great work in solving some of our problems down here on your
magnificent but often troubled Earth.

DR. LEALE gently lowers LINCOLN'S head back onto the pillow

DR. LEALE: The blood that flows from this man would be richer than
the blood that flows through the rest of us. For who else would ever
claim to have blood in their veins with the fortitude, convictions,
and courage to stay on the difficult pathways that this man has
followed from his earliest childhood years to this day which so
tragically promises to be his last?
It will soon be midnight, and Easter Sunday. It inevitably looks to
be an Easter like few others.

[end of extract]


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