Dula is first and foremost a love story; the story that began with two men loving two women and ended with three women loving one man.
From the very first lines of the opening number of this beautiful and powerful musical, it's understood that Dula is not just one story, but many forged into a powerful epic. First, it's the story of a young man who actually lived and loved and dreamed...a simple young man whose life should have passed into happy obscurity...but didn't.
Dula is also the story of a powerfully turbulent time in American history, the 1860s and a small backwoods town caught in the aftermath of the great Civil War.
History books are very good at telling us about the devastating effects the Civil War had on such major cities as Atlanta, Vicksburg, Gettysburg and Charleston, but few have focused on what that conflagration did to the thousands of small communities spread across our nation, caught in the lines of battle, forced into choosing sides, never really knowing which side they were supposed to fight for...much less what the real war was about. Dula is about one man in one of those communities...a man who fought because he had to, was branded a hero because he survived...yet only wanted to find some place, somewhere he would never have to fight again.
Dula never wanted his life to become legend. He was just one of four friends...three young teenage southern boys and a girl, whose deep connections were forged in childhood, who struggled to survive a devastating civil war; four friends who couldn't, in spite of their love and support for each other, keep their lives from ending in tragedy.
Born into a simple world about to be overturned by war, each took the only path open to them during the conflict--three as reluctant soldiers; one as a camp follower who sold herself for food and survival.
Those who survived the horrors that swept their former lives away returned to find the harsh reality of the defeated, the unnamed war that continues long after the battle is over...the war called "occupation" and "reconstruction".
Historically Dula is the story of a love triangle that ended in murder and became this nation's first highly publicized crime of passion...a story that has been passed down for over a hundred and fifty years...through legend and through song...yet the truth of these stories has always been questionable...and now more than ever, we've come to understand that history is only as accurate as the stories that are passed from mouth to mouth. Fame and infamy are only frames of reference for the tellers and realities can forever be changed by the mighty power of interpretation and agenda. Even written documents can and have been altered to fit what is politically correct for its time.
What is the truth? A man and a woman died. Why? That is the story of Dula.
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