"Our American Cousin" by Tom Taylor

Essay by bonitasweeUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, April 2006

download word file, 5 pages 0.0

The play "Our American Cousin" was written by British playwright Tom Taylor in the early 19th century. Later, his play was adapted and produced for the American audience by Laura Keene, a notable actress of the time. Keene's production of the play not only left a landmark in American Theater history, but in American history itself. The play made its first U.S. premier in 1858 in New York. Initially this play was written for the British stage; however, its most memorable performance took place in the United States. On Good Friday, April 14, 1865, the assassination of the 16th President of the United States took place during the third scene. Abraham Lincoln was assassinated at Ford's Theater in Washington, D.C. by John Wilkes Booth, an actor who did not agree with Lincoln's politics.

Because of the tragedy that surrounds that memorable performance, the play continued to be a success; however, the life of the play will have become short lived in comparison to its potential life span.

If it was not for the assassination, this play would still be performed today on a multitude of stages in schools, theaters, and around the world. Tom Taylor was brilliant when he sat down to write this masterpiece because it is a play that could be easily adaptable and appealing to a more contemporary audience. The play not only tells the story of an American named Asa Trenchard who goes to England to claim an inheritance and ends up saving his relatives from a greedy financial agent, it also incorporates modern issues, such as, language, stereotyping, culture, and contemporary problems.

If this play were still being performed today, audiences from around the globe would definitely find enjoyment in it. One of the things that makes this play such a success is the...