A Bed Made in Heaven (2005)
Explores the relationship between Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings. Set in 1801 during Jefferson’s first presidency, the play is an imaginative recreation of a complex, vital Sally Hemings who refuses to be identified merely as a mistress and a conflicted Jefferson forced to decide how to deal with a scandal threatening his presidency. All scenes take place at Monticello. The play dramatizes the reactions of the Monticello household—Jefferson himself, his married daughter Patsy Jefferson Randolph, Sally Hemings, and her mother Betty Hemings—to the scandal caused by James Callender’s public revelation of a sexual relationship between Jefferson and Sally Hemings. The play raises fundamental questions about American politics and private life while telling, a story two centuries old whose fascination seems only to grow in the twenty-first century.
Premiered at Performance Network, Fireside Festival of Plays, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 2010; Riverwalk Theatre, Lansing, Michigan, 2010; University of Michigan Residential College, 2011.