"Sword of the Spirit"

Written by Greg Artzner, Terry Leonino, and Richard Henzel
Directed by Richard Henzel

starring Greg Artzner as John Brown and Terry Leonino as Mary Brown

"What these artists have created is a play that performs like a waltz between Mary and her husband John Brown, set to their letters... Artzner does a wonderful fire and brimstone, wild-eyed Brown, as well as a joking, laughing and tender Brown...  Mary Brown, who has been overlooked or underestimated in the history books, is portrayed with sensitivity by Terry Leonino. "Sword" brings Mary Brown out of the shadow of John Brown. They stand as equals..."

--Laura Galvin, reviewing "Sword" for Farmer's Advocate, Thursday, May 18, 2000

Set primarily in John Brown's Death Row cell, "Sword of the Spirit" Explores the lives of Abolitionist John Brown and his wife Mary, taking us into the personal lives of the architect of the Harper's Ferry Revolt and his wife through letters, interviews, and music.

Greg Artzner and Terry Leonino, who have been researching this project for years, play the Browns. They are internationally known as the husband-and-wife folk/blues duo "Magpie," and in this role have performed extensively, on their own tours and also as cultural ambassadors from the U.S. State Department. They have recorded numerous CDs such as "Living Planet" and "Spoken In Love." Their musical roots go back to the 1960s civil rights, environmental and anti-war movements: Terry is a witness and survivor of the 1970 Kent State shootings; Terry and Greg have performed with SNCC Freedom Singers and are active in environmental causes. They specialize in music with historical and educational content for museums such as the Smithsonian, schools and events. Magpie performed at Harper's Ferry in 1998 for Bill Clinton and Al Gore. Last year, The Washington Area Music Association voted Magpie Folk Duo of the Year. You can hear a sample of their music on-line at Rounder Records. They are also on the Board of Advisors to the The Earth Day Every Day Radio Station Project.

Check out the National Park Service's "Sword" site!!

Read the Charles Town Herald-Mail on the February 2000 premiere performance at Charles Town,

under the direction of FRANK FARRELL.

Click to hear"Sword of the Spirit"
on Kojo Nnamdi's "Public Interest" Radio Program

Read Dave McMillion's background article from Charles Town, West Virginia's The Herald Mail by clicking HERE

Sword of the Spirit is a great play! As a professional who works with this material on a daily basis, I am familiar with the history of John and Mary Brown, and I am always searching for new interpretations and perspectives on the history of Brown--one of America's most controversial figures. I wish that all new employees and volunteers could see the play on their first day of work. Stimulating, constructive conversation is bound to follow every performance. I recommend this play to the historians because of the faithful use of primary source materials--the letters of John and Mary Brown. I also recommend the play to anyone seeking an enjoyable and informative evening out. It is one hell of a good story that is very well-presented by Greg Artzner and Terry Leonino.

David Fox
Education Specialist
Harpers Ferry National Historical Park

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