Characters Discussed

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Last Updated on May 11, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 180

Abraham Lincoln

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Abraham Lincoln,

Mrs. Lincoln

Mrs. Lincoln,

Robert E. Lee

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Robert E. Lee,

Mrs. Lee

Mrs. Lee,

John Wilkes Booth

John Wilkes Booth,

Mathew Brady

Mathew Brady, and

American Civil War soldiers

American Civil War soldiers, some of the historical and fictional personages, resembling animated wax figures on display, who populate the work’s arresting scenarios. They are derived from a series of “free associational” thoughts, sparked by reflections on the American Civil War. Because the playwright also considered his central concept of civil war to be applicable to a wide variety of confrontations, including family conflicts, the family of Frederick the Great and an American fin de siècle family appear as well. The international scope of the project (originally scheduled to premiere at the 1984 Summer Olympic Games) is reflected in the use of figures (for example, a Japanese sun goddess, William the Silent, and Giuseppe Garibaldi) who may be identified with the countries that participated in the venture. The appearance of Hercules in the final act is perhaps in recognition of the ancient origin of the Games.

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