Mary Todd Lincoln, Matías Romero, and Abraham Lincoln; director Stacy Ohrt-Billingslea and crew members with Consul General Tanya C. Anderson; Benito Juárez; literary critic Mark Sconce, LAMP co-founder Mikel Miller, author & playwright Michael Hogan, and Emb. Carlos Gonzalez Magallon; cast applauding audience. — Photo credits: Doris Payne Camp
The Lincoln and Mexico Project (LAMP) added a new dimension March 23-25 with the World Premiere of the play “Lincoln and Mexico: The Untold Story.” It opened at the American School Foundation of Guadalajara, the same school that inspired historian and ASFG educator Michael Hogan to write the book Abraham Lincoln and Mexico: A History of Courage, Intrigue and Unlikely Friendships.
The performances also garnered binational support from members of the diplomatic corps from the USA and Mexico, as well as guests from both countries. US Consul General Tanya C. Anderson delivered a strong supporting statement before the opening performance, and former Mexican Emb. Carlos Gonzalez Magallon added his support before the Saturday matinee. The official Facebook page for the Consulado General de los Estados Unidos en Guadalajara also featured the play in a post:
“El jueves 23 de marzo de 2017, la Cónsul General Tanya C. Anderson tuvo el placer de asistir a la inauguración de la producción de teatro de la The American School Foundation of Guadalajara, A.C., “Lincoln and Mexico: The Untold Story”. La obra narra la historia de Abraham y Mary Todd Lincoln, el cónsul mexicano Matias Romero, y un extraordinario elenco de personajes secundarios, todos los cuales influenciaron significativamente la trayectoria de Estados Unidos y México durante momentos clave en la historia de cada país.”
The play, also written by Dr. Hogan, was timed to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the year Mexico drove French occupation forces out of North America. It’s designed to supplement the book as a way for students to increase understanding of the important historical relationships between Lincoln and Benito Juárez. It also brings to light the friendship between Mary Todd Lincoln and Mexican envoy Matías Romero, which facilitated Lincoln’s diplomatic and military support for the Juárez government in exile.
Performances by the student actors—especially those playing Mrs. Lincoln, Romero, President Lincoln, and Juárez—drew enthusiastic support from audiences consisting of ASFG parents, students, faculty, guests from Guadalajara and nearby Lake Chapala, and the news media. One community theater group has already expressed interest in having students perform the play. Eventually, LAMP hopes the book and play will reach tens of thousands of students across the USA as educators begin to use them to stimulate classroom discussions of historical relationships between the two countries. Already, the project is developing and testing lesson plans for the 2017-2018 academic year based on the book.
With the premiere of the three-act play, the overall project now has a way to entertain people while educating and informing them about the legacy of Lincoln’s support for Mexico during the 1840s-1860s. The first way is through sales of the book itself available from Amazon, Barnes&Noble, and independent bookstores across the USA. A second way is through presentations and lectures by Dr. Hogan in the USA and Mexico to universities and civic and political leaders. A third way is by presenting a copy of the book to each member of the US Congress, funded by a GoFundMe campaign that’s already raised enough money to give copies to all 100 members of the Senate.
If you would like to help arrange a presentation in your area, please submit a comment to the blog or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Meanwhile, please help spread the word by going to the GoFundMe campaign to “Send Lincoln to Congress” and clicking to share with your Facebook friends. Thank you.