Laura Secord: Heroine of The War of 1812

Written by:

Sarah Anne Curzon

Cast Size:
40

Roles For:

  • Indigenous Peoples: 1
  • Men: 21
  • People of Colour: 2
  • Women: 7

Genre:

Drama
Feminist Theatre
Historical

Themes:

19th Century
Canadian History
Feminism
War of 1812

Length:

120 min.

Year Written:

1887

Synopsis:

In Laura Secord: Heroine of The War of 1812, after dragging her injured husband off the battlefield during the War of 1812, Laura Secord (1775-1868) was forced to house American soldiers for financial support while she nursed him back to health. It was during this time that she overheard the American plan to ambush British troops at Beaver Dams. Through an outstanding act of perseverance and courage in 1813, Laura walked an astonishing 30 kilometers from her home to a British outpost to warn Lieutenant James FitzGibbon. Despite facing rough terrain, the ever-present danger of being caught by American troops, and rather delicate encounters with Native forces, Laura reached FitzGibbon just in time for the British to prepare and execute an ambush on American military nearby, forcing the U.S. general to surrender. Laura lived a very long time, dying at the age of 93. In her lifetime the government never formally recognized her singular feat of bravery, and much controversy still envelopes her legacy.

Characters:

British:
LAURA SECORD, the Heroine, wife of James Secord /ELIZABETH SECORD, widow of Stephen Secord, the Miller at St. David’s / MARY, a girl of thirteen, daughter of James and Laura Secord / CHARLOTTE, her sister / HARRIET, her sister / BABETTE, the maid at the Mill / A WOMAN, the keeper of a roadside tavern at Beaver Dams / JAMES SECORD, a wounded militia officer, home on sick leave, husband of Laura Secord / LIEUTENANT FITZGIBBON, a British officer holding the post at Beaver Dams / MAJOR DE HAREN, a British officer lying at St. Catharines with his command / COLONEL THOMAS CLARKE, A Canadian militia officer / SERGEANT GEORGE MOSIER, an old Pensioner, and U. E. Loyalist of 1776 / MISHE-MO-QUA (The Great Bear), a Mohawk Chief / JOHN PENN, a farmer (Harvey’s Quaker) / GEORGE JARVIS, a Cadet of the 49th Regiment / A Sergeant of the 8th Regiment / A Sergeant of the 49th Regiment / JAMES CUMMINGS, a Corporal of Militia / ROARING BILL, a Private in the 49th Regiment / JACK, a Private in the 49th Regiment / Other Soldiers of the 49th, 8th, or King’s Own, and 104th Regiments / Militiamen, Canadians / Indians, British Allies, chiefly Mohawks / TOM, a child of six, son of the Widow Secord / ARCHY, a little Boy at St. David’s Mill / CHARLES, a boy of four, son of James and Laura Secord / Other Boys of various ages from eight to sixteen.

American:
COLONEL BŒRSTLER, an American officer / CAPTAIN McDOWELL, an American officer / PETE and FLOS, slaves / A large body of American soldiers, infantry, dragoons and artillerymen.

First Produced:

Written as a closet drama in the late 19th century.

Resources:

Laura Secord: Heroine of The War of 1812 is available through Amazon.

To view other works by this playwright, click here.

Notes:

According to the Canadian Encyclopedia, Laura Secord: The Heroine of 1812 (1887) was “the first self-declared feminist play written in Canada. According to its preface, the play’s purpose was ‘to rescue from oblivion the name of a brave woman, and set it in its proper place among the heroes of Canadian history.’ It was also written as an intervention into the debate over veterans’ pensions and to solicit recognition for the contribution Laura Secord made to the War of 1812. Its publication aroused such interest that it was responsible for a deluge of articles and entries on Secord that filled Canadian histories and school textbooks at the turn of the 20th century.”

“Although financial stability eluded Curzon, she was a stalwart and prominent supporter of women’s rights and among the first women’s rights activists and supporters of liberal feminism [in Canada].”

Warnings:

Stereotypical "noble savage" characterization of Indigenous people (who are identified in the Dramatis Personae as "British"). Also, stereotyped and racist portraits of the two slave characters, Pete and Flos, who are stylized according to the "blackface" minstrelsy tradition popular in this era.