SASSAFRAS CANNON – CIVIL-WAR BLACK COMEDY PLAY
Sassafras Cannon is a civil-war black comedy play highlighting and satirizing the follies of human nature, at its base. Featuring a set of characters ranging from the offbeat Bloodworth family, holding the reigns to a chocolate manufacturing corporation like the world has never seen, a lampooning version of President Jefferson Davis, a butler who seems a bit, well, evil, and even down to investors from overseas, all whom make their appearances, the show exaggerates America’s time-tested fascination with all characters wild and strange, all while twisting history into it’s own new version, all in a style reminiscing to the days of vaudeville shows and the Ziegfeld Follies.
Did you know that cocaine, now considered a drug, was in the original mix of Coca-Cola?
Did you know that Jefferson Davis is rumored to have been fleeing from the Union at the time of his capture in his wife’s clothing?
These are all facts and rumors that the play uses to perpetuate it’s story and satire, combined with intentional historical inaccuracies and rumors. Attendance at the production is recommended for those with both a sense of humor and a grasp of history.
Review from The Charlotte Observer:
The play, like many of my other script ideas, simply came to me one day out of the blue,” Starnes said. “I wanted to do a comedy on some sort of Willy Wonka-esque character and his especially eclectic family set during the Civil War, which would appeal to young adults and adults.
“Many of the details in the show were inspired by real-life facts found during my prewriting research. However, the play is not a documentary or historically accurate, following my motto that people – when attending an event such as a play – are seeking to be entertained rather than taught.”
Audiences are advised to bring a sense of humor, and parental guidance is suggested.
In Starnes’ play, there is no “fourth wall” between the audience and the storyline. The playwright said attendees “become part of the storyline” in the Museum of the Waxhaws’ auditorium.
Author: Timothy Starnes
Genre: Civil-war black comedy play
Type: Two-act play
Cast: Cast of 10-12 M 1-4F (Housestaff can be played by either sex)
Ages of the actors: Adult
Suitable for: Parental guidance advised
Length: One and a half hours long
Set: A desk in the middle of the performance
space is necessary, desk chair included. Other
furniture is entirely optional.
Level of difficulty: 7/10 – dark comedic characters
Copyright © September 2015 Timothy Starnes and Off The Wall Play Publishers
Like this play? Other historical plays and dark comedies:
For Ryan Fay, who is going on to do the great things everyone was expecting. If it wasn’t for him, this script would have been complete 6 versions ago.
For Beth Killion, whose amount of effort put into the costumes must have bailed out the entire craft industry. Homeschoolers and old ladies rejoice.
For Anna Claire, who listened to my weekly arguments with Ryan Fay in the car, citing that we sounded like an old married couple. Accurate.
For Hoke Pittman, who has been keeping my leading male characters rightfully sassy since 2013.
For Jasper Boykin, the original black butler.
For Lucas King, who made sure that the houseboy humor couldn’t be any bawdy or funnier.
For Katherine Pierce, whose realistic onstage wine-drinking couldn’t have come from no previous real life experience.
For Noah Tepper, the original Victorian emo. His hair color changes were part of those script versions.
For Carlos Vargas, whose constant mention of his male Cinderella adaptation never ceases to silence a room.
For Kevin Brennan, who has flashed more people than even the biggest career flashers, wearing his Jefferson Davis dress.
For Jessica Boyles, who died more times than anyone can count, in the show.
For Shawn Jones, the scariest investor in the ensemble.
For Camarin Chargualaf, who said “inherited chocolate empire” correctly on both running nights.
For Savannah Jillani, who maintains to look better in my clothes than I do.
For Tommie Wall and Sandra Glenn, who supported the project all the way to the stage, hiding some of it from the arts council along the way.