“America and Me” is a one-man play based on Walt Whitman’s celebratory, profound and tortured musings on certain ‘time-chunks’ of his life. These include the Civil War, President Lincoln, 19th Century, America, sensory proclivities, and the struggle to publish “Leaves of Grass”.
From the moment he self-printed his book, he was frustrated and deeply depressed by the lack of attention given it by the American public. He blames himself for the nation’s oversight, because of certain behaviors and lackings that that made his work less compelling and unable “to grab the people by their unwilling throats!” Without warning, an astonishing catastrophe of Nature that might have killed him has motivated him to re-examine his life in order to make further claim for America’s attention — and he uses his 67th birthday to do it.
After a questionable academic career at Stanford, Kinsolving fled to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival to play “Richard II”. He attended the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, appeared as an actor under-, off- and on Broadway, as saloon singer in Greenwich Village nightclubs, and won the Best Actor of the Year award from the “San Francisco Chronicle” for a performance at the Berkeley Rep.
Kinsolving has written plays including productions produced by the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Canada, writing and doctoring fifty screenplays, and publishing five novels. Subsequently, he returned to playwriting, of which you will see one example tonight.