Caesar Rodney’s Ride

Produced by Colin Bell, Joseph Cooper, Diane Monico, and
the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at
http://www.pgdp.net

DRAMATIC HOURS IN REVOLUTIONARY HISTORY


Caesar Rodney’s Ride

BY

HENRY FISK CARLTON

Edited by CLAIRE T. ZYVE, Ph.D.
Fox Meadow School, Scarsdale, New York


BUREAU OF PUBLICATIONS
TEACHERS COLLEGE, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY
NEW YORK CITY


HOW TO BE A GOOD RADIO ACTOR

The play in this book has actually been produced on the radio. Possibly you have listened to this one when you tuned in at home. The persons whose voices you heard as you listened, looked just as they did when they left their homes to go to the studio, although they were taking the parts of men and women who lived long ago and who wore costumes very different from the ones we wear today.

The persons whose voices you heard stood close together around the microphone, each one reading from a copy of the play in his hand. Since they could not be seen, they did not act parts as in other plays, but tried to make their voices show how they felt.

When you give these plays you will not need costumes and you will not need scenery, although you can easily arrange a broadcasting studio if you wish. You will not need to memorize your parts; in fact, it will not be like a real radio broadcast if you do so, and, furthermore, you will not want to, since you will each have a copy of the book in your hands. All you will need to do is to remember that you are taking the part of a radio actor, that you are to read your speeches very distinctly, and that by your voice you will make your audience understand how you feel. In this way you will have the fun of living through some of the great moments of history.

HOW TO FOLLOW DIRECTIONS IN THE PLAY

There are some directions in this play which may be new to you, but these are necessary, for you are now in a radio broadcasting studio, talking in front of a microphone. The word [in] means that the character is standing close to the microphone, while [off] indicates that he is farther away, so that his voice sounds faint. When the directions [off, coming in] are given, the person speaking is away from the microphone at first but gradually comes closer. The words [mob] or [crowd noise] you will understand mean the sound of many people talking in the distance.

Both the English and the dialect used help make the characters live, so the speeches have been written in the way in which these men and women would talk. This means that sometimes the character may use what seems to you unusual English. The punctuation helps, too, to make the speeches sound like real conversation; for example, you will find that a dash is often used to show that a character is talking very excitedly.


CAESAR RODNEY’S RIDE

CAST

BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
JOHN HANCOCK
JOHN RUTLEDGE
THOMAS MCKEEN
URIAH CLARKE
CAESAR RODNEY
PRUDENCE RODNEY
TOM
VOICES

ANNOUNCER

On July 1, 1776, the Continental Congress of the American Colonies faced one of the most important crises this country has ever passed through. Upon what happened that night depended the fate of the resolution before Congress which declared that: “These United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.” This was known as the Lee Resolution, the fate of which was to be decided by one of the most famous rides in history—Caesar Rodney’s ride.

Let us begin our story on the morning of July 1, 1776, in the Continental Congress at Philadelphia. For nearly three hours the Lee Resolution has been the subject of furious debate. The members are all excited, anxious, overwrought. The debate has become bitter, for some of the members are unalterably opposed to independence. It is about noon when Dr. Franklin rises to address the Chair:

FRANKLIN

Mr. President—

HANCOCK

Dr. Franklin.

FRANKLIN

I have sat uneasily, sir, during the furious debate, hoping that the storm would subside, and the bright sun of reason would shine upon us through the parting clouds. But, sir, I am fearful that the storm is gathering with new fury, and that we may be blown too far from our course to steer safely into harbor. Perhaps, sir, we should end this debate which seems to bid fair to wreck our unity. I move you, sir, that we lay the Lee Resolution on the table.

ALL

No, no, bring it to a vote!
Yes, lay it on the table!
Let’s vote on it now!
Have it over with! [etc.]

HANCOCK [sound of gavel]

Order! Order! Do I hear a second to Dr. Franklin’s motion?

VOICE

Second!

HANCOCK

You have heard the motion—are there any remarks?

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