The Andersonville Trial

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The Andersonville Trial by American writer Saul Levitt [1] (1911-1977).

The play was first presented on December 29, 1959 in New York City at Henry Miller's Theatre.

It was published by Random House Publishing in 1960.

Performance history in South Africa

Albert Ninio directed this play, which was staged by the Johannesburg Reps in 1962. It starred Joe Stewardson and Gordon Mulholland. The run was at the Alexander Theatre. Decor by Roy Cooke.The play is about whether men "have or have not a real authority within themselves as human beings" using the military as background to this question (Saul Levitt in the programme of the play in 1962). It has been compared to the story of Captain Henry Wirz who was put on trial for his life after the Civil War in America in 1865. He claimed he merely carried out the orders of his superiors. The playwright asks whether these superior systems (government, corporations, army) can "take over ultimate responsibility for the individuals moral decision" (Levitt). The play is set in a courtroom that suggests 1865. Levitt asserts that the play eventually poses another question: "are men too weak in the face of the very world they make?". Characters and 1962 cast: General Lew Wallace, President of the Court: Simon Swindell. Clerk of the Court: Michael Coulson. Lt.-Col. N.P. Chipman, The Judge Advocate: Michael McGovern. Otis H. Baker, The Defense Counsel: Gordon Mulholland. Captain Williams: Johnny Dercksen. Henry Wirz, The Defendant: Joe Stewardson. Louis Schade, Assistant Defense Counsel: Chris Davis. Lt.-Col. Chandler: Bruce Anderson. Dr. John C. Bates: Arthur Linscott. Ambrose Spencer: Billy Matthews. Dr. C.M. Ford, Prison Surgeon: Webster Booth. D. Hosmer, Assistant Judge Advocate: Garth Scott. James H. Davidson: Phillip James. Jasper Culver: Harry Hambleton. George W. Gray: George Canes. Union Soldiers: T. Shaeffer, P. Motto-Ros, N. Kelly-Herde. Newspapermen: Joseph Sherman. General Mott, General Thomas, General Geary, General Fessenden - Assisting judges - Wally Loyd, Fred Alden, Robert Short, Bill Foster.

Translations and adaptations

Presented as a television movie in 1970.

Sources

http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/wirz/media1.htm

Alexander Theatre programme of the play's run in February 1962, No. 157.


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