Oklahoma Shakespearean Festival 2007

While attending to the needs of my parents and the death-details of my brother this week, I did manage to attend two plays for the annual Oklahoma Shakespearean Festival in Durant, Oklahoma. I saw two plays: Smoke on the Mountain and MacBeth. Both plays were directed by Paul B. Crook who teaches theatre at Louisiana Tech at Ruston. I especially enjoyed MacBeth. I loved the language of the director’s notes on this play. Crook said:

“I’ve always been attracted to this play because it is truly a study of the potential for Evil that all of us have. Thankfully the vast majority of us have no trouble resisting those impulses, but it’s fascinating to watch characters who are unable to fight those base and primal urges. MacBeth understands that his Evil actions are perverse, yet he continues . . . demonstrating a supreme moral disorder and disrupting the lives of those around him and, by extension, an entire country. Watching his descent is riveting and terrifying.”

My signing at Roby’s Hallmark and Flowers shop in Durant did well on Saturday, July 7. Riley H. Risso-Coker, the producing director of the festival, now in its 28th year, really promoted the book at the Shakespeare Festival. She wants to go to schools and perform a staged version of my children’s book, Jim Limber Davis: A Black Orphan in the Confederate White House. In case you don’t know Jim Limber’s story yet, here is a condensed version:

Jim Limber Davis was rescued from an abusive guardian by First Lady Varina Davis when he was only five years old. Jefferson and Varina Davis then became his legal guardians and Jim lived with them in the Confederate White House for several years, enjoying life as a member of their family.

When Union soldiers invaded Richmond, Virginia, and captured Jefferson Davis, they also kidnapped Jim Limber. Soon after his capture, cruel rumors spread that Jim was Jefferson Davis’s slave. After the Civil War, Jefferson Davis tried to locate Jim, but he was never found.

This true story shows how Jim Limber was accepted as one of the Davis’s own children and reveals their love for him. Although Jim’s whereabouts after the war still remain a mystery, the story offers an example of compassion during this complex time in our nation’s history.