A Hysterical History of the American Revolution
by D. M. Larson
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Time and Place: 1775, An undisclosed meeting hall in the
Abigail Adams is at a podium with a gavel surrounded by many
woman in 1770's clothing sitting at tables scattered around the podium.
I call to order the first Women's Continental Congress...
What? You told me this was going to be a sewing bee.
I, Abigail Adams, will act as president.
President? Now Abigail...
The floor recognizes the honorable Martha Washington.
I find this whole gathering... to be improper.
Well, I find the fact that our husbands excluding us from participating in the Continental Congress improper.
She's a hot head like her husband.
What's that Mrs. Franklin?
Nothing, dear. Carry on.
Don't you all find it ironic that our husbands are demanding
a voice for America from the British parliament but they will not give us one?
We know our place, Abigail.
And our husbands do not. They rise up while they push
Martha Jefferson's slave woman, Sally, jumps up.
Sit down, Sally.
I'm sorry Abigail, but if you'll excuse me.
Martha, please wait. Stay and listen. You don't
have to agree, but Abigail has a right to be heard.
Martha Washington sits reluctantly.
Thank you, Kitty.
I, for one, think this is all so exciting. Perhaps
where our husbands have failed, we might succeed. They fight and argue
but we all get along quite nicely.
Do we now?
Come, Mrs. Franklin. This whole idea should appeal to
you. Do you enjoy quietly doing all your husband's work for him, running
the entire United States post office, managing his affairs, while he flitters
about Europe wining and dining potential allies.
Oh, the stories I've heard about Benjamin Franklin in the
So much for getting along... I believe I'll be going.
No, no. I'm so sorry, Deborah. I thought you might find it
humorous. I didn't mean to offend.
I will not stay here and play with silly girls such as
yourself, Kitty Greene. I must excuse myself... Madame President.
Deborah starts to go and then Ben Franklin appears.
Deborah... what are you doing here?
Plotting a revolution of our own it seems.
I forbid you to participate in this... silly session.
You what? You forbid me?
I refuse to see you be a part of this foolishness.
Really? Well, too bad.
Don't Deborah me... why don't you go fly a kite.
Ben leaves annoyed.
Shall we continue then?
We shall. My apologies for the interruption.
Oh, this is so exciting. I move that we do some open
act of protest.
Please nothing as messy as that awful tea party in
Boston. Imagine dumping all that lovely tea in the harbor.
We could burn our petticoats?
That is way too 1760's.
How about a symbol?
A woman that symbolizes what we stand for! Ladies!
Two women enter. One carries a pitcher of water.
The other is a redneck looking woman with a hatchet.
First we have Molly Pitcher. She is the brave woman who
ran pitchers of water to the canons to cool them during battle. When her
husband fell under enemy fire, she took his post and fired the canon!
Women applaud politely.
And over here, we have Molly Hatchet...
Molly Hatchet (redneck girl) does a dramatic pose and looms
over Martha Washington who lets out a yelp. Abigail stops her.
All in favor of adopting Molly Pitcher as our symbol.
No one says anything and tough Molly Hatchet suddenly bursts
in to tears and runs out crying.
I shall not fail you ladies.
Okay, can we do something important now?
My goal is to do something quickly. Already our
husbands have formed the SECOND continental congress and haven't come to any
solutions. Without my husband, I've had to handle all our family
affairs. Without him working, I've had to go around collecting unpaid
debts from clients of his law practice, take of trading, find any way possible
to keep our household in order...
Yes, while the men play politics, someone needs to keep the
money coming in. Which is why I should go.
Even us women of better means have had to make
We have given up the drinking of tea.
And started drinking coffee. Horrid stuff.
And we plan to make our own clothing. No more imported
British goods for us. A total boycott of anything from England.
That's wonderful! That will get their attention.
And Mrs. Washington and I plan to keep the troops clothed and
The men are deserting at an alarming rate. Our
kindness, food and donations of clothing have made a difference.
I hear Mrs. Greene keeps the men quite happy.
What's that supposed to mean?
I'm just saying there is talk...
What is talking? What kind of talk?
I will vouch for Mrs. Greene. Yes, she was seen dancing
with my husband, General Washington...
For three hours.
It was a dancing contest. He was quite good.
I'll bet he was.
Ladies, please. Order!
Abigail is pounding her gavel. Women are still arguing.
This was harder than I thought. Order! Order!
The arguing gets worse despite Abigail's gavel banging and
asking for order over and over. Then a young woman (Emily Geiger)
stumbles in, dirty and tired. Martha Jefferson sees her and rushes to
Come sit, my dear.
Kitty rushes to her.
Aren't you Emily Geiger? You're a messenger for my
husband, General Greene?
Martha Washington brings her some water.
Emily is one of the bravest women I know. Much braver
than that other messenger, Paul Revere, that everyone talks about.
(mocking tone) "The British are coming. The British are coming." Miss
Geiger risked her life delivering a message that saved my husband's life.
He needed reinforcements but no man was brave enough to cross the British lines
to deliver a message to Genernal Sumter asking for help. But this woman was
brave enough. She carried the message and when she was captured, she
swallowed it down to avoid giving up the sensitive information. Having no
evidence, the British released her and she delivered the message verbally to
Sumter and brought the much needed help my husband needed. Thank you,
I believe she has a message for us.
I come with news from Charleston. Breed's Hill is lost.
Is that near Bunker Hill?
Yes. The men fought hard but they ran out of
ammunition. With a few bullets left, Colonel Prescott ordered his mean to
wait to fire until the British were close enough to see their eyes... "Don't
fire until you see the whites of their eyes!" he said.
And that is something else we can do. We can make
I'd rather make peace.
We melt down all our silver and pewter and make bullets.
Our silver? Really? Isn't there something else we
How about the statue of King George?! It's made of
lead. Perfect for bullets.
All in favor?
Except Deborah Franklin who is quiet.
They look at Deborah Franklin.
I rather like the idea. I was just picturing the look on my
husband's face when he finds out we did this.
Meeting adjurned. Let's make some bullets.
Ladies happily exit. Abigail gets some paper and
pen. Kitty pops her head back in.
Are you coming, Abigail?
In a moment, I wanted to finish a letter to Mr. Adams.
Kitty smiles and leaves. Abigail speaks as she writes:
"...in the new Code of Laws... which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make... I desire you would Remember the Ladies, ...and be more generous and favourable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands. Remember all Men would be tyrants if they could. If perticuliar care and attention is not paid to the Laidies we are determined to foment a Rebelion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, or Representation."
CAST OF CHARACTERS
Abigail Adams - Wife of John Adams and future first lady
Kitty Greene - Wife of General Greene and future co-inventor of the Cotton Gin
Martha Washington - Wife of General Washington and future first lady
Deborah Franklin - Wife of Benjamin Franklin who ran the
American Post Office for her husband among many other things.
Ben Franklin - Husband of Deborah Franklin who did
something... I don't recall.
Martha Jefferson - Wife of Thomas Jefferson who passes away before her husband becomes president.
Molly Pitcher - woman who was a symbol of the true
revolutionary gal possibly based on the real life Mary Hays.
Molly Hatchet - redneck woman who carries a hatchet not based
Sally Hemings - Slave of Martha Jefferson (and rumored
half-sister who become close to Thomas Jefferson after Martha's death)
Emily Geiger - a brave messenger who's quick thinking saved a
message from enemy hands
More women extras are possible and encouraged.
"Founding Mothers" by Cokie Roberts
"Revolutionary Mothers" by Carol Berkin
"John Adams" HBO Miniseries
"1776" Peter Stone Musical
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