Abraham Lincoln Goes to the TheatreFront Cover
  • View Cart
  • .
  • $16.95

    ISBN: 9780889226494 | Paperback

    96 pages | Pub. Date: 20100815
    5.50 W × 8.50 H × 0.60000000000000009 D inches
    Backlist | Drama | Bisac: DRA001000
    Rights: WORLD


John Wilkes Booth assassinated Abraham Lincoln at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C. Inside that theatre today, Ranger Powell of the U.S. Parks Service takes crowds of tourists, the curious and the ghoulish through a step-by-step description of the assassination. Underneath the box where Lincoln was shot, he describes the plot of the comedy Lincoln watched that night, Our American Cousin, as being “kind of like the Beverly Hillbillies.”

Scratch the surface of any story and underneath you will find layer upon layer of fiction masquerading as fact. The play’s main character, Mark Killman—a feared but much admired director—draws inspiration from Abraham Lincoln’s assassination to stage the schizophrenia of America. He hires two actors to play Laurel and Hardy. Both are to re-enact the assassination, while he himself plays the iconic role of Abraham Lincoln as a wax figure.

The script is frequently self-referential, building on each of these “retakes” with further allusions to itself, telling the same story many times over in different voices from different points of view. Tremblay quite explicitly stages elements of literary theory with this play, including references to Jean Baudrillard’s concept of the simulacra and the “desert of the real,” concepts first popularized by the movie The Matrix—the idea that in our post-modern world, the imitator has become more relevant than the imitated, and that the virtual worlds we construct are becoming more “real” to us than the real world.

Absurd, hilarious and haunting, Abraham Lincoln Goes to the Theatre is an unforgettable mystery that asks the question: How can we ever know who we are and what is true when the world we know is shifting beneath us? Its answer is simple: John Wilkes Booth was the first American star—the actor who kidnapped reality to transform it into theatre.

Cast of 3 men.

"… explores the wellsprings of psychic and social violence.”
—Canadian Encyclopedia

By Larry Tremblay

Larry Tremblay is a writer, director, actor and specialist in Kathakali, an elaborate dance theatre form which he has studied on numerous trips to India. He has published twenty books as a playwright, poet, novelist and essayist, and is one of Quebec’s most-produced and translated playwrights (his plays have been translated into twelve languages).

Read more about Larry Tremblay

Translated by Chantal Bilodeau

Chantal Bilodeau is a Montréal-born, New York-based playwright and translator whose work focuses on the intersection of science, policy, art, and climate change. She is currently at work on a series of eight plays that look at the social and environmental changes taking place in the eight Arctic states, with the first two plays of the series – Sila and Forward – published by Talonbooks.

Read more about Chantal Bilodeau

Access Onix Code

OtherText Code 08:

news | 2015-03-09
Larry Tremblay’s Abraham Lincoln in Sudbury

…Sudbury Star) Directed by Jenny Hazelton, Abraham Lincoln Goes to the Theatre is a bizarre story that follows a narcissistic …

news | 2010-10-13
Music, Paranoia, Montreal, and Meta-play

…English translation of Larry Tremblay‘s Abraham Lincoln Goes to the Theatre, which has been reviewed by Bembo Davies in …

news | 2010-09-28
Abraham Lincoln va au théâtre - Teaser

…The English translation of Larry Tremblay‘s Abraham Lincoln Goes to the Theatre will be available in October. Thank you for your …

news | 2010-09-03
Abraham Lincoln va au théâtre - extraits

…This is a preview (in French) of Abraham Lincoln Goes to the Theatre by Larry Tremblay. Our translation of this play …

news | 2010-08-05
Dear Betty,

…out to Chris Bullough for his supporting role in Abraham Lincoln Goes To The Theatre, one of the new titles by Larry Tremblay …