Thomas Paine

A Historical Drama for the Stage Concerning Thomas Paine

Written by John R. Briggs

Paine: A Man Who Should be Remembered

The United States was founded on certain beliefs and principles and many of the men responsible for the nation and its philosophical underpinnings, such as Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and John Adams, are remembered and revered. But one man who was eminently responsible for the new nation and its essence, Thomas Paine, is all but forgotten. The historical stage drama The Last Day of Common Sense exposes and explores Paine’s contributions, sacrifices and failings. This is a moving and controversial dramatic portrait of Thomas Paine, the man and U.S. citizen.

With Politics Past Becomes Present

Although many people bemoan what politics in the U.S. has become. In many ways, it has not changed very much. In this drama, Thomas Paine is on his deathbed and visited by many of the men who prior to and during the American Revolution were his colleagues and friends. But despite the importance of his influence in the founding of this country, Paine ended his life as an outcast partly due to his religious beliefs. The Last Day of Common Sense brings Paine and history into the forefront, drawing parallels between Paine and our times.

Historical Drama and Memory

This telling drama reexamines the roots of our country and brings Thomas Paine into our consciousness. Thomas Paine was nicknamed “Common Sense” because of his authorship of the famous pamphlet of the same name. Paine stood as a beacon of freedom and in his time was the most influential political writer of the western world but is lost in modern discussions of democracy.

He was one of the most important founders of the United States of America. In fact, Paine was the very person to coin the phrase “United States of America,” and yet he is but a footnote in history. Most historians believe that without his Common Sense pamphlet, which offered an emotional yet salient reason to break with Brittan, the American Revolution would not have taken place. Should this man be in our collective memories? This drama asks this important question.

Characters and Plot

The drama The Last Day of Common Sense finds Thomas Paine on his deathbed; it is his last day on this earth. During the drama, we see his incredibly close relationships with Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and John Adams come to life as simultaneously a conspiracy to discredit him in the future is revealed. Paine, unable to control how he will be perceived by history, is seen as a man battling a system that became a part of the nation that he helped to found and name.

Reliving incidents that led to the forging of alliances, fighting of battles and creation of enemies, Paine tries to come to grips with the incongruities between how he is perceived and what he really did. As he fights his was towards the everlasting, he attempts to find peace with what he will leave behind, including his own reputation.

Why is Paine all but forgotten when discussions of the Founders occur? The Age Of Reason, a book that expressed Paine’s extremely unsympathetic and unfavorable thoughts about all organized religion, but especially Christianity, made him the target of Fundamental Christians in America. He was a particular target of the Quaker religion, which was the belief of his upbringing. Could it be his place in American history in no accident of time?

The Last Day of Common Senseis a drama that explores the theory that Paine was maligned for his religious beliefs during and after his death. It does so as it reveals the man behind the genius, the pettiness and the humanness that defined his being.

Audiences Connecting to Their Country

This is a historical play that embraces the principles on which the United States of America was founded while revealing the humanity and frailties of those men who risked everything to create it. The Last Day of Common Sense is a drama that puts men who we perceive as being bigger than life in perspective and that brings back to life one man who has unfortunately been relegated to being a footnote in U.S. history. For more information on licensing and other aspects of our site please see our FAQs. To register and gain full access to Musical Bard simply fill out the short form to your right.


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