Kentucky. Known today for its bluegrass, horse racing, and bourbon; it's very name, embedded in Iroquois history, means Land of Tomorrow. The song birds are the sweetest, thoroughbreds fleetest, wrote James Mulligan, "The landscape is the grandest--And politics-the damnedest In Kentucky."
It's a hard look that we must face at European settlers, frightened by differences in heritage, religion, and skin, unable to respect the beauty in other races. They did not understand the sexual orientation of God's creation. "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it," wrote George Santayana. We romanticize the old days maybe because they are behind us and can no longer harm us. And from the good that was there, we build a better tomorrow.
Here are five historical dramas of Kentucky:
The Botanic Garden
Horace Holly arrives in Kentucky with dreams to create his own university which is deemed to be the Harvard of the West. The faculty he chooses includes an eccentric European botanist who believes that every great university must have its own botanical garden. Dreams collide within the struggles between religion, government, and ambition. A play about Constantine S. Rafinesque and Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky.
Sabbath of the Soul
Three weary travelers meet one evening at a railroad station awaiting arrival of the train carrying the one person most influential to them. Remembrances of this one exceptional life help them come to terms with their own mortality and purpose. A play about the life of Emily H. Tubman and Frankfort, Kentucky.
Emma of Elmwood
An architect, hired to demolish and replace a beloved house, is haunted into rebuilding his own life. A play about Emma P. Watts and Eastern Kentucky University of Richmond, Kentucky.
The Dust of Summer
A woman imprisoned by her domestic life discovers a runaway soldier seeking refuge from himself, both trapped between courage and duty. A play about Pleasant View Farm and The Battle of Richmond in Madison County, Kentucky.
The Two Villages
After years of engagement and unable to set a date for a wedding, a struggling painter is confronted by his fianc as they journey to understand the obstacles that have plagued their relationship. Being true to one's art comes with a price. A play about Kentucky's own impressionistic painter Paul Sawyer of Frankfort, Kentucky.
About the Author
Richard Cavendish, is the registered pen name with Dramatists Guild of America for the Rev. Dr. Russell Richard Rechenbach, II, a native of Frankfort, Kentucky. He graduated from Transylvania University with a Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in Drama and Religion and completed the Master of Divinity and the Doctor of Ministry degrees from Lexington Theological Seminary. He attended Mansfield College of Oxford, England. He retired from ministry in 2011, to write historical dramas. Dr. Rechenbach has restored The Old Parsonage of Andrew Tribble built in 1794, located in Richmond to be used for community events. His play Botherum was chosen Best Ten-Minute Play 2017 with Kentucky Theater Association's Roots of the Bluegrass Play Writing Competition, and his plays Night Music of the River 2016, The Botanic Garden 2018, and Beatin' the Dark Home 2019 were chosen first place finalists.