If Thomas Jefferson and John Adams were alive today, what would they say to each other?
Genesee Community College associate professors Derek Maxfield (History) and Tracy Ford (English) are teaming up to create an imagined conversation between the two founding fathers in retirement.
The men had been close friends, but their friendship fell apart and they didn’t speak for 10 years," Maxfield said. “When they were both retired from politics, their friendship was renewed through correspondence."
Jefferson was in Monticello, Va., and Adams was in Quincy, Mass., when they began writing to each other.
“This conversation that we’re going to stage, while it physically never happened, we’re using the correspondence, to form what we say to each other,” Maxfield said, adding that the aim is to make Jefferson and Adams more human, to promote a better understanding of them both.
At 7 p.m. on March 7 at GCC, they will have an advance presentation of the program for the public. They will reading from a script at podiums, as a warm-up to work through the script.
Maxfield will be Adams; and Ford will be Jefferson in the program.
When Maxfield first read the correspondence between the historic figures, he wondered what they would say to each other now.
“If they did see each other face to face again, what would that look like?” Maxfield said. “That’s what we’re aiming for.”
The associate professors named the group after a quote from Shakespeare because they were looking for a unique name.
“We wanted it to have some history or literature flavor to it,” Maxfield said. “We came across this and it seemed perfect, because both Tracy and I are 'rudely stamp’d.' ”
"Rudely Stamp’d" has a kickstarter campaign to fund the costumes and props, located here. Maxfield said they want the most authentic-looking costumes for the program.
“We’re hoping to raise $6,000 before Dec. 25,” Maxfield said.
They hope to expand the group eventually, to include other programs, including an Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas debate.
Maxfield said he hopes to bring other living historians into Rudely Stamp’d.
“The idea is eventually to bring in select others,” Maxfield said.
Rudely Stamp’d is not a business.
“It’s not something we’re going to make money with,” Maxfield said. “It’s something we want to make available for anyone who is interested.”
Associate Professor Tracy Ford (submitted photo)
Associate Professor Derek Maxfield (submitted photo)