Cover photo by Craig Schwartz


John Strand
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A dark comedy set in present-day Washington, D.C. Francis was a brilliant political staffer who suffered a mental breakdown, convinced he was Abraham Lincoln. He now works as a janitor in various D.C. buildings, and attends therapy, but still sometimes wanders off and makes rousing public speeches. He is kept from being forcibly confined to an institution only by the efforts of his brother, a harried political speechwriter struggling to help his congressperson get re-elected. During his long night shifts, Francis befriends a lonely speechwriter who unbeknownst to him works for his brother’s rival in the upcoming election. Francis begins to supply speech ideas to both candidates …

Production Info

Cast: 4 total (1 female, 3 male)
Full Length Dark Comedy (about 120 minutes)
Single Set
Contemporary Costumes
Category: Tag:

Press Quotes

“Socially relevant without ever becoming preachy, clever enough to pass for cynical but also so subtly moving that its emotional payoff comes as a surprise, John Strand’s new comedy is a political fantasy, a notoriously difficult genre, and it works, [presenting] politics in our nation’s capital with a kind eye for human foibles and an unerring sagacity … The play flirts with a serious debate on madness as a social construct, as a defense against madness and cruelty on a larger scale. But it remains a comedy, albeit a deadly serious one … LINCOLNESQUE offers no easy answers. It simply lets us laugh as we begin to grapple with some truly horrifying questions.” —Octavio Roca, Miami New Times

“John Strand’s beyond-smart-and-clever new play is a fascinating and philosophical exploration of what it takes to survive in an insane world; when and by what means we check out; what is truly important; and what is wrong with politics and, by extension, America. Strand manages to imbue his characters with humanity and the ability, however obliquely, to address these issues.” —Charlene Baldridge, San Diego News

“Fiendishly clever and soberingly serious, LINCOLNESQUE is the most entertaining civics lesson you are likely to encounter … One part fantasy and on part satire, the play still manages to be smart, smart-mouthed and timely. It could easily be labeled a comedy if what it says about us and those we vote to govern us were not so sad.” —Hap Erstein, Palm Beach Post

“Both a biting satire and a stirring drama, the poignant and funny LINCOLNESQUE is a scathing indictment of the moral detritus that takes place in Washington, DC … Francis actually believes he is Abraham Lincoln. Or does he? One of the great things about John Strand’s script is that it keeps you guessing.” —Dan Hudak, Coral Gables Gazette

“Provocative … brisk and suspenseful … Strand’s characters are compelling. The insights about war, politics and our undying need for a hero really hit home. My husband and I discussed the play for hours; like Francis, we couldn’t agree on the line between fantasy and reality.” —Pat Launer, K P B S/National Public Radio

About the Author


  • John Strand

    John Strand is the author of LINCOLNESQUE, a comedy about politics and madness in Washington, D.C. (The Cleveland Play House, directed by Michael Bloom) and LORENZACCIO, his adaptation of Alfred de Musset's 1834 French classic (The Shakespeare Theatre, Washington, D.C., directed by Michael Kahn). Strand also wrote the book for the musical THE HIGHEST YELLOW, with a score by Michael John LaChiusa, at Signature Theatre, Arlington, VA. His other plays include LOVERS AND EXECUTIONERS, Arena Stage, winner of the Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding New Play; THE DIARIES, commissioned by Signature Theatre and nominated for the MacArthur Award; and TOM WALKER, commissioned by Arena Stage. Additional plays are OTABENGA, directed by Michael Kahn at Signature Theatre, and nominated for the MacArthur; an adaptation of Molière's THE MISER set in Reagan-era America, at Arena Stage; THREE NIGHTS IN TEHRAN, a comedy about the Iran-Contra affair, Signature Theatre; THE COCKBURN RITUALS, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Co. Mr. Strand spent ten years in Paris, where he worked as a journalist and drama critic, writing in English and French, and directed New York University's Experimental Theater Wing in Paris. His plays are published by Broadway Play Publishing, New York.

About the Book

Book Information

Publisher BPPI
Publication Date 2/1/2008
Pages 96
ISBN 9780881453355

Special Notes

Special Notes

Licensees are required to include the original stage producers credits in the following form on the title page in all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play and in all advertising in which the full cast appears in size of type not less than ten percent (10%) of the size of the title of the Play:

Premiered at Old Globe Theater, San Diego

The following must appear within all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play:
Lincolnesque is produced
by special arrangement with Broadway Play Publishing Inc, NYC


Upcoming and Recent Productions


10/21/2020 – 10/22/2020
Lone Star College-Cyfair
Cypress, TX

9/22/2018 – 10/13/2018
The Keegan Theatre
Washington, DC