Introduction to the History Plays


The Sorrows of Frederick at The Virginia Museum Theatre

Linney’s historical plays show especially well how he often infused his personal experience into his work.  To bring life to the historical figures in his plays, Linney believed that “there has to be some kind of cathartic emotional experience in their life that gives you a point of entrance – an intersection between you and that person.”  This connection can be seen throughout his works, but especially in plays like The Sorrows of Frederick.  The last of Linney’s historical plays, The Flower Hunter, about the biologist William Bartram commissioned by the Ensemble Studio Theatre/Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Science & Technology Project has yet to receive its world premiere.