By Debra Clinton, director
1776 is a story about hope and change, two things that have been on the minds of many Americans in recent times. The situation then was similar to now. Factions of our country (colonies at the time) in disagreement about the current state of affairs in our society. People in opposition to each other about what the right course of action might be. People with a strong vision for the future and willing to take risks to forge ahead. Knowing those Founding Fathers shared similar problems gives me a sense of identification and being connected to something. I think people call that history.
Which leads me to another relevant thing about 1776, at least for me. This show taps into my recently dormant pride in being an American – a fundamental value that I grew up with. When I was in grade school, there was a picture of John F. Kennedy in every classroom. We revered the presidency. It was kind of like having a king or queen to be proud of. I think pride in one’s country adds a level of meaning to your life.
It’s my belief that 1776 will be a perfect forum to continue this very passionate discourse we’ve been having in our country this year about the best course of action for our nation. That is the question on the table in the play. How do we move forward? This affects every one of us. We all have something at stake, as did the signers of the Declaration.
1776 opens this Friday, September 30, at the Sara Belle and Neil November Theatre.
Debra Clinton serves as artistic director of the Jewish Family Theatre at the Weinstein JCC, while being a playwright and lyricist, a member of the TRAIN faculty for Virginia Rep and Cadence, and a full time theatre arts teacher in Hanover County. Recent directorial efforts include Les Miserables, Student Edition (JFT) Croaker (Virginia Rep), The Whipping Man (Virginia Rep), Bad Jews (Theater Lab) and Man of LaMancha (Dogwood Dell).