artwork by Mikyong Rodgers http://www.mikyong.com


Renowned Canadian Playwright
Morley Shulman 

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SYNOPSIS

JULY 1801. LONDON, ENGLAND. THE HOME OF BENEDICT ARNOLD.  Benedict Arnold, once the greatest general of the American Revolution, is now a feeble, broken man. He is now convinced he will go down in history as the most infamous traitor the world would ever know. A chill wind blows ominously through his room and it begins to snow. In his mind, he is now back in Colonial America, in the early years of the Revolution, where seemingly against all odds, General Arnold—resolute and patriotic—would strive at any cost, to bring freedom to a young, struggling nation.  Benedict Arnold is so revered that George Washington is about to name him second-in-command of the Continental Army—his fervent dream—when Arnold is wounded in battle. Thus, instead, Washington temporarily appoints him military governor of Pennsylvania.

This, however, puts him on a collision course with the civil leader of the colony, Joseph Reed, the sniveling, peevish President of the Supreme Council, and his sassy Chief Advisor, Josephine. Intensely jealous of Arnold, the two plot against him at every turn. The Reeds try to convince Washington that Arnold is a traitor, entertaining the British in his home and marrying Peggy Shippen, the daughter of a loyalist judge.  What’s more, they add, during the British occupation, Peggy had had an affair with the young, dashing, British Intelligence officer, John Andre. Washington will have none of the scandal, and Reed is forced to drum up charges on General Arnold so trivial as that he had used an old army wagon to bring home some new furniture, accusing him of “theft of government property.” Incredibly, General Arnold is found guilty, forcing Washington to re-think his plans to promote Arnold—now fully recovered from his injuries—to second-in-command. Arnold is devastated, and wonders why he should continue risking his life on the field of battle for the very people who are conspiring to defeat him.

Peggy and John are happy to see Ben’s change of heart, and they urge him, not to resign, but to accept the new position that Washington has offered—commander of the federal arsenal at West Point. That way, when the British “attack,” Ben can claim to be outnumbered, surrender the fort and turn Washington over to the British for trial, thereby effectively ending the war. Ben reluctantly agrees to go along with the scheme.

While John is secretly meeting with General Arnold, Americans attack John’s ship, and he is left to this own devices, traveling on foot through enemy territory—there he is captured, and signed papers implicate General Arnold in the plot as well. Arnold discovers that Washington’s men are on their way to get him, but when he runs to tell his wife, she promptly faints in his arms. With seconds to spare, General Arnold lays her on the bed, and escapes through an open window. Only when he is safely aboard a British ship bound for New York, does he write Washington a letter, pleading on Peggy’s behalf, and asking Washington to send him the two-and-a-half weeks’ back pay he has coming.
When Washington arrives at the Arnolds’ home, Peggy is relieved to discover that he views her merely as an unwitting pawn in her husband’s conspiracy with the British. Her happiness is short-lived, however, when she discovers that John Andre has been captured, and is soon to be executed as a spy.

Arnold meanwhile, discovers that he is not to receive a fraction of the money that he had been promised. Even more devastating is the fact that none of the British soldiers will serve under his command. He is a traitor, after all, they tell him. No one knows who he might turn his back on next. As the realization of his fate creeps ominously over him, the ghosts of his past return, and General Arnold comes to realize at last that no one will remember him as the greatest hero of the American Revolution.
  

 Joseph Reed, President of the Supreme Council

Peggy Arnold, Fervent loyalist and spy for the British army. The second wife of Benedict Arnold.

 Esther Reed, The staunch British citizen who advocated for the colonists, and the historical figure on whom the character of Josephine was based.

Benedict Arnold, Fervent patriot and Revolutionary Gentleman

John Andre, Spy for British General Clinton, and Peggy Arnold's lover.