– by guest writer Paul Handy –
Carry a Big Stick is not your typical Capital Fringe show. It takes us back to September 1901, and tells the story of the accidental president, Teddy Roosevelt, who enters office under the worst possible condition – the assassination of William McKinley. TR longs to become president in his right, on his terms. He wants to build a legacy and a canal between the seas, in Nicaragua!
Senator Mark Hanna of Ohio, the long-time political boss and friend of McKinley, eyes TR with deep suspicion. Can TR be controlled? If not, should Hanna run against TR for president and save the country? Hanna wants to build a canal in Panama, because he has a financial interest in the Panama Railroad. TR is not protecting Hanna’s wealthy donors.
Carry a Big Stick has seven characters, all male, all with private agendas for building a canal in either Nicaragua or Panama. The play presents a behind-the-scenes look at the wrangling and dealing that led to the United States building one of the most amazing technological achievements ever. Indeed, one that changed the world!
I began working on this project with the Playwrights Forum in 2008. I read a number of accounts about the building of the Panama Canal, and thought there was a good play story in there. Originally, I set about telling the story of the colossal failure of the French expedition in Panama in the 1880s. Stuck for a satisfactory resolution, I set aside the script idea for a full year.
by Paul Handy
645 New York Ave, NW
Details and tickets
As Director Catherine Aselford said, “It’s a political coming-of-age story, it’s a ‘buddy play,’ it’s a play about destiny – manifest or otherwise. It’s a darn good story. And it’s true.”
This production is presented as a part of the 2013 Capital Fringe Festival, a program of the Washington, DC non-profit Capital Fringe.
— Guest writer Paul Handy has written 15 plays that have been publicly performed, including “Cry for the Gods,” which was part of the 2011 Capital Fringe Festival and was presented at Congress by the Hawaiian delegation. —
Fringe Peeks is part of our ‘in their own words’ series.