For her impending birthday, I got Mrs. Nat’s TV tickets to The Rivalary, a reading of a 1950s play adaptation of hte Lincoln/Douglas debates, with the talented Paul Giamatti as Douglas and the Mrs.’s favorite actor, David Strathairn, as Lincoln. This was an L.A. Theatre Works production, to be recorded and broadcast on public radio and sold via various means. We’ve listened to some of their stuff before, but never gone to a recording. We were worried about getting “good seats”, but shouldn’t have worried so much; it’s a cozy theater at the Skirball Center, and none of the seats would’ve been bad.
Me, I’ve held a strong respect for Strathairn since his Day And Nights Of Molly Dodd, a show I am quite fond of. And because of that last fact, I got an extra thrill from the fact that James Gleason, another member of the Molly Dodd cast, was in this show in a supporting role.
The night we were there was actually the 150th anniversary of the last of the Lincoln/Douglas debates. Coolness.
One off note, though. The program included a section of historical background, which brought us this little bit. “In 1858, the year of the Lincoln-Douglas debates, the ideological positions of the two main political were reversed from what they have been in modern times. The anti-slavery Lincoln was a Republican, while the pro-slavery Douglas was a Democrat.” Now, I’m an independent with not a lot of votes for Republicans on my record, but even I don’t believe that in modern times, they’ve switched to being pro-slavery. The wording has the overtones of an anti-modern-Republican viewpoint that is unneeded and unuseful in what this section is for.