This rhyming version runs several scenes together into one scene, featuring Tom,
Eva and Topsy. It was written by Walter Burnot (who may have been a British
song-writer) for the Asa Cushman family to perform. Along with his wife, Minnie
Jackson Cushman, Asa had a long career as an actor and manager in Providence and
other places. In this playlet, he plays Tom, Minnie plays Topsy, and their
"child" (presumably a daughter) plays Eva.
Burnot clearly based his text on Aiken's dramatization. To make this version work, he assigned a number of lines usually spoken by characters like St. Clair and Ophelia to Tom and Eva. The religious focus of Stowe's novel is given some prominence, and Burnot interpolates a speech for Tom about the injustice of racial prejudice (though no explicitly abolitionist rhetoric appears). Perhaps the main emphasis of this version, though, is on singing and dancing.
The 13-page manuscript in the John Hay Library is undated, but internal evidence (Tom says "de black man [is a] slave") suggests it was written during the 1850s. Whether and where it might have been performed is unknown.
The Asa Cushman Collection, The John Hay Library, Brown University.
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