“Dueling Pigs” was a contest of taste

I have been very busy this summer. Writing and acting opportunities availed themselves to me and I enjoyed these experiences, immensely.

In the spring, I wrote an original one-act comedy based on a fictitious encounter between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton. Charlie, a good friend and fellow parishioner, asked me to write a play to entertain patrons at the annual SAWs fundraiser. SAWs is a non-profit organization that builds wheelchair ramps free of cost. Many of their clients are military veterans who have been wounded in battle and have lost a limb.

Charlie, his wife Marcia, and I sat around a table at a restaurant and brainstormed about the focus of the play. We tossed out ideas while enjoying a Sunday brunch. The name of the event, “Dueling Pigs,” referenced the barbecue contest between a host of vendors, of which the patrons would decide who had the best barbecue. Marcia suggested the play be about a famous duel. Well, right away, I thought of the duel between Hamilton and Burr.  I said, “I know just the pigs I wanted to cast in the roles.” We all laughed. The actors I had in mind were Trip and Anne. The married couple have a litany of acting credits between them. Moreover, I had seen them play opposite one another at Ferry Farm (George Washington’s boyhood home) in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Trip portrayed King George III and Anne, Thomas Jefferson They had a heated discussion about the colonies’ objectives for independence from England.

Unfortunately, Anne had a scheduling conflict, so I had to find another actor to play Hamilton. Trip suggested Michael who he had worked with on many occasions. Well, Trip’s recommendation was good for me. Michael filled the bill. Both were excellent in their roles.

Trip Lloyd, as Aason Burr on the left and Mike Hart, as Hamilton on the right

It took me about two weeks to do the research and write the four-page play. They cajoled, insulted and challenged one another about their reputations, common sense, fidelity, and their importance as leaders in America.

Below is an excerpt.


Egad! It’s Alexander Hamilton, a swine whose come to dine on swine. I’d rather sit amongst a swarm of bees.


Touché! I’d rather be shot by a firing squad, Burr.


Funny you should say that. You just might get your wish, Hamilton. I’m despicable, eh? The insult you used to describe me at Judge Taylor’s dinner party.


Well, yes, but it was a private conversation. Some old crone felt compelled to run and tell that. A pox upon him!


The play referenced the Broadway production of Hamilton by Burr, who was disappointed no Broadway play had been written about him. After all, he surmised, it was he who was the highest achiever, with the title of Vice President during Thomas Jefferson’s presidency.

Instead of dueling with swords, they dueled with long barbecue forks. Instead of the confrontation ending in Hamilton’s death, they tossed their differences to the wind and decided to dine on barbecue and ale.

Published by Malanna Carey Henderson

Malanna Carey Henderson is a Detroit native who presently resides in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Her adoptive city is rich in history. America's early colonial period and four major battles of the Civil War have marked its landscape. George Washington, his mother, sister, and brother-in-law attended the same church of which Malanna is a member. As a child, Malanna was an avid reader. Her favorite genres were biographies, mysteries, and historical fiction. The more books she read, the greater the urge to write grew. Malanna's creative attributes encompass playwriting, composing music, and singing. She has won two first-place awards for her one-act plays. On the Wings of Freedom is a book that combines several genres: a quest for social justice, adventure, and romance. The backdrop is 19th-century America. Here, the legal practices of the antebellum south are tested against the principles of freedom and democracy. On the Wings of Freedom is Malanna's first novel.

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